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Monday, June 19, 2006, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Foxconn: iPod sweatshop claims a \"vicious attack\"

Foxconn Electronics has "sternly denied" a report insinuating that the company is making iPods for Apple Computer in sweatshops, according to DigiTimes.

Last week the Mail on Sunday published a two page spread claiming first-hand accounts from within some of Foxconn's facilities in which workers labor 15-hour days for as little as $50 a month. The report garnered considerable attention and was even picked up by national television news networks for their nightly news broadcasts.

Edmund Ding, a spokesman for Foxconn, has now gone on record in saying there were "huge discrepancies" between the truth and the allegations in the report. He called the report a "vicious attack" on Foxconn — the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry — and added that the company reserves the right to take legal action.

In the Mail's report last week, the publication alleged that one factory at Longhua employed 200,000 workers, each of whom had to work 15 hours a day for a monthly pay of $50.

However, Ding says Foxconn has a workforce of only about 160,000 employees worldwide, excluding those within its handset-making arm, Foxconn International Holdings. He maintained that the company abides by the employment law in China, which stipulates that the minimum wage for a worker in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone is 810 yuan (or $101) a month.

Ding also said Foxconn has been actively making improvements to workers' living conditions, providing safe and well-equipped dormitories complete with free laundry service, sports facilities, libraries, and other facilities, the spokesman said.

According to the Mail's report, some employees lived in rooms occupied by 100, where they were allowed no outside visitors, few possessions and a wash bucket to clean their clothes.

Last week, Apple issued its own response to the report, saying it planned to investigate the matter.

"Foxconn

Dormitory at Foxconn's E3 factory | Image copyright Mail on Sunday.


"Foxconn

Military-style drills on the roof top at Foxconn | Image copyright Mail on Sunday.