Saturday, 21 May 2011

Explosion at Foxconn plant

From the Guardian:
A spokesman for the company said people had been injured in a fire at the plant but that it had no details. The company is best-known for producing iPhones and iPads for Apple, but other clients include Nokia, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Employing up to 900,000 people in all, Foxconn has repeatedly been the subject of controversy over working conditions at its vast plants. The affected one is believed to employ up to 100,000 people.

A report on Chinese news portal Sina said the area had been sealed off after a blast ripped through the plant at around the time workers changed shifts. Police in Gaoxin district said they were called to the scene at 7.18pm and that the explosion seemed to have been caused by materials within the factory. A report on the China National Radio website said two were killed and 16 injured, three seriously. (1)
This is just another tragedy resulting from our hypocritical exploitation of the PRC's laissez faire attitude towards worker's rights, wages, representation and safety.

Foreign companies setting up in China should be required - or, better yet, insist on - basic standards of decency, in terms of wages, worker conditions and union recognition. We insist on these things for ourselves, it's absurd that we're happy to ignore them when it comes to the Chinese labour that makes the stuff that lets us enjoy a preposterous standard of living.

Of course, the whole thing's a shoddy trick to get us thinking we've still got it good based on cheap imports and never mind we've got no jobs, so perhaps I'm the one who is absurd for even making the point.

Liberty, equality and fraternity, or cheap vanity-baubles made by Morlock labour in China, who occasionally get blown up? Workers of all lands unite? Or workers of the developed world live like kings on the backs of the third world? It wasn't much of a contest.
1 - "Workers killed in blast at China plant of iPad maker Foxconn," by Tania Brannigan. Published in The guardian, 20th of May, 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/may/20/foxconn-apple-blast-china)

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