We've come full circle in this tale of Chinese worker exploitation, re-reaching the conclusion that Foxconn is still a hard place to work after hearing what it's really like from a woman who works on the inside.
Following news that a few hundred workers threatened suicide unless working conditions improved, Foxconn has experienced a month of intense scrutiny from all angles, followed by a guilt-quelling possibility that these factories provide better working conditions than anywhere else in China. But the 18-year-old Foxconn employee, whom CNN is calling only "Miss Chen,"confirms that the gadget factories are not somewhere we'd want to work.
"Foxconn employees have a saying, 'they use women as men and men as machines,'" Chen told CNN's Chi -Chi Zheng. Chen also describes all the horrors we've heard before, including a military culture with long unpredictable hours and fickle, fire-happy management. Though Apple has claimed that it "cares" about each of its workers, Chen doesn't get that impression. "Do they care about us? I don't know. At least I'm not getting any of that care," said Chen, who below sees her first ever completed iPad, after spending tedious hours fitting tablet screens.
People don't tend to stay very long at Foxconn, a source told CNN. "The attitude of management is, if you don't like it, you can leave," said CNN's Stan Grant. From the sounds of it, we can imagine why employees wouldn't like it very much. According to Chen, "Everyday is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal."