A Chinese iPhone factory worker says he saw a colleague have his pay reduced for spending too much time drinking water, report says
By Sam Tabahriti,
A worker told Rest of World what working at a Foxconn factory where iPhones are assembled in China is like.
The worker said he saw a colleague have his pay lowered for spending too long drinking.
Nicknamed Hunter, the worker told Rest of World he felt he was stripped of his "rights and dignity."
A man who worked in a Chinese factory assembling the iPhone 14 witnessed a colleague getting his pay reduced for spending too long drinking water, a report said.
Nicknamed Hunter, a 34-year-old who worked at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China, shared with nonprofit tech publication Rest of World insights into what it is like to work in a windowless workshop assembling iPhones.
Hunter told Rest of World he had worked in a number of roles at the plant over more than a decade, and that his last assignment included working on the iPhone 14 Pro assembly line last year. He worked 10-hours shifts and had to assemble 600 iPhones every day.
His every move inside the factory was monitored by the "xianzhang" – or line leaders – who frequently reprimanded people, he said. Hunter told Rest of World he had a strict hour-long lunch break and if he had to go to the toilets, he would need to make up for the lost time.
In the facility distinguishing between day and night was difficult, Hunter said.
He witnessed a colleague get a pay cut for taking too long to drink water, while another was shouted at for completing only 40 tasks in an hour when others had managed 60.
Hunter, while rarely the target of the line leaders, told the nonprofit publication he hated the humiliation endured at work and felt he was stripped of his "rights and dignity" – but the paycheck helped him keep it together.
Rest of World reported that if new recruits worked 10-hour shifts for six days a week, they could make more than 10,000 yuan a month – or $1,474.
At the time, the company released a statement amid the protests apologizing for a "technical error" that "occurred during the onboarding process" which led to delayed payments. Apple reportedly enlisted one of Foxconn's biggest rivals, Luxshare, to help build iPhones after the protests.
On January 9, Hunter left the factory to return to his hometown. He told Rest of World he hoped not to be back at Foxconn for the next mass production of iPhones, but he couldn't be "absolutely sure."
Foxconn and Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.
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