Many people may find it distasteful to critique the life’s work of a man in poor health, but I think it’s necessary to critique Job’s labor practices: I’m certain most profiles of Jobs’ tenure will completely avoid mentioning systematic labor rights violations that occur at Apple.
[W]e encountered a strange, disturbing world where new recruits are drilled along military lines, ordered to stand for the company song and kept in barracks like battery hens – all for little more than £20 a week.
In what’s been dubbed the ‘i-Nightmare factory’, the scandal focuses on two sprawling complexes near Shenzhen, two decades ago a small fishing port and now a city of 17 million people.
This is the epicentre of operations for Foxconn, China’s biggest exporter, which makes products under licence for Apple using a 420,000-strong workforce in Shenzhen. They have 800,000 workers country-wide.
And as Jobs was speaking in San Francisco [while announcing the iPhone], new measures were being secretly introduced at Foxconn to prevent the suicide scandal from worsening and damaging Apple sales globally.
Astonishingly, this involves forcing all Foxconn employees to sign a new legally binding document promising that they won’t kill themselves.
Jobs may be dealing with serious health issues, but it is an absolute malpractice of journalism for business journalists to fail to mention abuses of workers’ rights during his long reign as Apple’s CEO.