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Reporter allegedly goes undercover at 'iPhone 5' factory

A Chinese reporter allegedly went undercover as an employee at a Foxconn, experiencing first hand what workplace conditions are like in one of the company's plants.

The in-depth report from the Shanghai Evening Post, translated by MIC Gadget, doesn't offer much in the way of new information regarding hardware, but manages to give insight into the stresses Foxconn workers face on a daily basis.

It should be noted that AppleInsider cannot confirm the Shanghai Evening Post's report as the purported "facts" are unverifiable at this time.

The Chinese publication's reporter managed to stay inside the walls of Foxconn's Tai Yuan factory for ten days, seven of which were spent on orientation. During the short stay, he was able to gather a great deal of information, with most of the focus trained on the grueling working conditions and living situation.

alleged photo of undercover reporter.
Source: Shanghai Evening Post

Sleeping at Foxconn's dormitory is a "nightmare," the reporter writes, and smells of garbage, dirty sweat and a "foam smell." Trash was piled high in front of the dorm rooms' and cockroaches infested the linen closet. Bedsheets were also in a sad state being full of "dirts and ashes."

A warning sign reading "TOP SECURITY AREA" (possibly better translated as "Top Secret") greets workers as they enter the factory floor, walking through metal detectors both coming and going to ensure nothing is brought in our out of the area. Those found in violation are immediately fired.

Once on the assembly line, the reporter was tasked with preparing the iPhone 5's back plate for painting by marking the areas on which masking tape would be applied, though his liberal use of the oil-based pen earned him the ire of his supervisors. His partner in charge of affixing the tape and plastic covers over the earphone jack and connector ports of the backplate was also reprimanded for moving too slowly

“This is the new unleashed iPhone 5 back plate, you should be honored having the chance to produce it,” a supervisor said.

From the report:

By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates. There are total 4 production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in every line. Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: “Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !? We are all here to earn money ! Let’s work harder !” I was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?

After coming under fire for its treatment of workers, Foxconn in August was reported to be making strides in rectifying a number of inadequacies found by the Fair Labor Association inspectors in March.

Apple is widely expected to debut the very product the undercover reporter allegedly worked on, the sixth-generation iPhone, at a special event on Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. AppleInsider will be providing live coverage of the presentation.