Last Friday, an explosion at a facility owned by Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing contractor, killed three employees and injured 15.
The blast is still being investigated and Foxconn has said that “should the ongoing investigation identify any specific areas where enhancements can be made, we will not hesitate to immediately implement those measures”.
But haven’t we been here before?
This is not the first time that Foxconn has been criticized for unsafe and inhumane work conditions.
Last year, a string of worker suicides triggered harsh condemnation of Foxconn, which was accused of militaristic management and physical and psychological abuse.
Undercover reporters discovered the workers were forced to work long hours for low wages in terrible conditions.
Foxconn had already been warned about the factory’s ventilation problems and workers covered in silver-gray dust by Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) a Hong Kong-based group fighting for workers’ rights.
However, Foxconn ignored the warning. The combustible dust was the cause of blast.
China’s State Administration of Work Safety also warned Foxconn about the combustible dust. In fact, the most recent warning was posted on the official website on May 5, just days before the explosion.
After the explosion, Fan LiQing, a spokesman for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said that, “We hope Foxconn and other Taiwan-invested enterprises can learn from the accident, carry out their safety responsibilities, strengthen internal inspection and management, root out potential dangers in a timely manner and ensure safe production.”
This should be common sense for all Chinese companies. After all safety measures are meant to protect human life.
But this is the true state of the Chinese worker — The longest working hours, the lowest wages, the hardest work and the worst working conditions.
We should learn the bllody lesson from the latest Foxconn tragedy.
Companies must be made to strictly complied with the laws and put people first.