Apple comes clean on iPod manufacturing
After reports surfaced in June of unseemly labor conditions at Foxconn, one of Apple's major contract manufacturers, Apple launched its own investigation. Now, the Mac and iPod maker has published the results. Mostly, Apple gave its suppliers a clean bill of health. The report notes that their pay levels do meet China's minimum wage laws, in response to concerns about the factory workers' low pay. But it also noted problems with a lack of privacy in some off-campus dormitories and a lack of transparency in workers' paychecks due to a complex scheme of bonuses for skills and attendance, as well as deductions for meals and housing. The workers' single biggest complaint? There's not enough overtime available during nonpeak periods.

"Good job, Apple," says The Unofficial Apple Weblog. "Here's hoping that some people's lives will improve just a little bit because of all this." TUAW notes that Apple has hired Verité, a nonprofit which monitors offshore manufacturing sites, to keep an eye on Foxconn and its other suppliers.

But none of this clears up The Browser's original question: Do Apple's iPod workers make enough money to afford even a measly iPod Shuffle?
Posted by Owen Thomas 10:29 AM 10 Comments comment | Add a Comment

Asking whether the workers "make enough money to afford even a measly iPod Shuffle" is the wrong question. The question should be, do they make enough money to make them want to work there? When it's their choice to work, who are you (or I) to say whether or not they're being paid enough?
Posted By Paul, Lombard, IL : 1:28 PM  

no.... I don't really think that a guy in the ipod assembly line could even afford to purchase a meager ipod shuffle. They owe almost their soul to their employer... assuming they're chinese because some brokers put vietnamese or indonesian cheaper labour on those works... and they have to pay them a fee too for their travel expenses, housing, etc ... it's modern slavery, sadly that's the way it is... right?
Posted By Christian Tirado, Mexico City, Mexico : 3:09 PM  

They get paid to make the iPod not to buy one. The whole idea of minimum wage is a joke, a way for politicans to buy votes.
Posted By Yo, Buffalo, NY : 3:35 PM  

It is very doubtful that any mfg. worker can afford their own iPod Shuffle considering their super low wages...probably between US$100.00 - $150.00 per month.
Posted By Keith Lee, Valencia, California : 3:35 PM  

That question is an unfair comparison. The real question is: where do the workers in the Foxconn facility stack up against other Chinese workers. It is an economic game. If the labor was not cheaper, in China, there would be no factory making iPods there. Complain as much as you want, but the major compaint of the workers there tell the entire story - not enough hours during off peak times... Sounds like they really hate it...
Posted By Robert, Minneapolis, MN : 3:43 PM  

Browser, did the workers express their desire to own an iPod? I don't think so. Maybe they are not as concerned about trivial material things --- they are simple folks.
Posted By Slim, NY,NY : 4:53 PM  

ipod shuffles are a luxury item with US prices!!

It's like asking if a worker on the Rolls Royce manufacturing line can afford a Rolls Royce. What a poor question.
Posted By ed, LA, CA : 5:19 PM  

China's workforce is not my concern, why isn't Apple building these devices in the US? I'd pay the extra premium to employ US workers. It is very disappointing to hear that Apple sends all this work to China - they are not the kind of US based company that I would support with future purchases.
Posted By Joe, Tonawanda, NY : 5:22 PM  

I'm sure they can afford an iPod Shuffle if the workers really wanted it. But it will cost them about 50% of their salary. Assuming that they earn 1200-1400RMB/month.
Posted By Amen Mak, Zhuhai Guangdong China : 1:10 AM  

Could any person working a min wage or below anywhere afford to own an ipod?
probably not.

Are they making enough for a decent living in China?
probably not.
Posted By Jackie, Princeton NJ : 10:09 PM  

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