The story of a former employee of the Chinese factory Pegatron, which conditions are going the Apple smartphones. After graduating from new York University student, Dejian Zeng was going to get a job in a Chinese human rights organization.
Before that, he decided to check, how changed conditions in the Shanghai factory, the company Pegatron, which assembles the iPhone for Apple, and settled a. According to the author of the Business Insider KIFA Leswing, Assembly plant for Apple in Asia, has repeatedly come under criticism from human rights organizations and the media for processing and low wages.
“In 2014, Pegatron has drawn the attention of the BBC, and in 2016 — Bloomberg. After that the factory regularly present observers Apple, which ensure that employees are not forced to work overtime,” he writes. Apple has carried out 16 audits of Pegatron factories found out that 99% of weeks employees work less than 60 hours, on average, each collector works 43 hours a week.
In addition, over the past five years, the company raised the wages of factory employees by 50%, and now they “exceed the subsistence minimum established in Shanghai.”. According to Zeng, the day he had to work 12 hours and sleep in a dormitory in one room for eight people.
In the month he earned $450, performing a single task, tighten the two screws holding the iPhone. “When a job in a factory, the personnel Department look into your hands — because it is the main tool of the working. After that tests knowledge of the English alphabet, as on an Assembly line use the Latin letters.
My line is, for example, was called E26. But even those who are wrong, not denied employment,” — says Zeng. Denying only pregnant women and candidates with tattoo, if it is more than 10 inches. They just suggest to abandon the passage of paid medical examination, where candidates with the doctors, fingerprinted and take a blood test.
Suffering from HIV is also offered immediately to inform about the disease, however, according to Zeng, recognized a few, and he doesnt know what happens to those whose tests are positive.
The next day, done with the papers, and on the third day begins a two-day training, during which talk about safety and about the ideals of Apple. “Everyone at the plant know that although legally working for Pegatron, the iPhone actually create and feel a part of the Corporation. But most people dont understand how global Apple.
Many perceive it as a company that “sells a lot of iPhone”. I respect Apple those who are interested in it,” says Zeng. After passing the tests the employees issued uniforms — blue pants and black Slippers.
It is only one weekend it is necessary to wash. “But during the week the clothes so soiled and propotevaet that the lines can not breathe,” recalls Zeng. The working day at collector starts at a different time.
Zeng got the night shift began at 19:30. First, he collected the iPhone 6s, with August 2016 — iPhone 7. At the beginning of its consolidated Assembly line in the Department of final Assembly, testing and packaging. On each working line is about a hundred jobs, and every employee performs his operation.
“The first few days youre incredibly focused, because you cant keep up with the speed of the conveyor belt. So I was focused on work — very exhausting, but was only thinking about how to keep up. I didnt have time to think about other things — only about what I need to work faster and faster,” says Zeng.
According to a former assembler Pegatron is hes so accustomed to, that could work with my eyes closed. After completing the norm, Zeng was sitting idle, like many other employees of the factory.
According to Business Insider, only on the Shanghai Pegatron factory employs 70 thousand people, but with opening the new buildings this number will increase to 100 thousand. “People are annoyed by the need to sit around. The factory was not allowed to use electrical devices and they get bored because they couldnt even listen to the music,” says the source Business Insider.
Sometimes they started to talk to each other, and if the line Manager is not liked, he approached and asked to slow down the voice. Two hours after starting work employees give desyatiminutki break. According to Zeng, this was barely enough to get a drink of water or to go to the bathroom because the kitchen and toilet were in a different body.
During the break many staff slept, albeit briefly. Two hours later the employees were released for lunch, which was held in the large dining room plant-wide. The meal was given 50 minutes.
“Some chatting with neighbors on the table, but the majority quickly try to eat portion, so that theres more time to sleep,” recalls Zeng. According to the source Business Insider, workers are mostly fed with vegetables, meat, sometimes given biscuits, rice or noodles. There are days when to the main portions add fruit — apples or pears.
Zeng noted that the food was low quality and the portions are always small. “It is reasonable. Hunger keeps people in shape. But thats not very nice”.
The food is paid. Standard lunch costs from five to eight yuan (about $1). The restaurants at the plant that work for the day shift, more expensive — 20 yuan (almost $3).
If the employee quickly finished their meal, he could sleep, despite the fact that it was forbidden. According to Zeng, if the managers saw that someone sleeps on the sofas in the lobby, they scanned the card of the employee and reported to his immediate superiors. For multiple violations, the employee could reduce his salary, or to dismiss. So many slept sitting.
I have often seen managers yelling at their subordinates, for the fact that they were caught while sleeping. After lunch, the work continues for two hours until the next ten-minute break and two hours after it. On this regular work day ends, but employees are asked to stay to work overtime.
Despite the fact that the processing charge is paid we can not abandon them. “It all depends on the day of the week. On Friday I have to work two more hours on Monday and 2.5 hours. On Saturday all are also working a standard eight hours. It turns out that the employees conduct in the workplace 12 hours, including all breaks,” says Zeng.
Overtime is paid 1.5 times the size. Saturday — double the amount. “After retirement I have remained friends over there.
One guy said that after the release of iPhone 7, he worked 11 consecutive days without days off”, — says the source Business Insider. At 7:30 in the morning, the workers finish the shift. The hostel is a 10-minute drive from the factory.
Daily work picks up and brings special bus. Tsang, lived in a room for eight people. Returning from work, he ate Breakfast and took a shower.
The hot water was not always, sometimes off and cold. According to him, many workers before bedtime go to the Internet cafe, walk, play video games or just lay there with the phone in my room. “The hostel has Wi-Fi.
But to use it, you need to either download the app or go to this link — it gives virtual coins. Coins can be bought for 5 yuan ($0,7). There are free services, such as viewing video,” says Zeng. At 10:00 already want to sleep because of the shift are very tired.
But at 18:30 you Wake up again, and so every day. It turns into a routine. According to the student, daily lack of time affects life and business. They cant take vacation when they need the factory management prohibits and if the employee begins to insist that his superiors to him develops a negative attitude.
Trade Union in the factory no. Sometimes workers start talking about their creation, but as soon as you get paid, lose interest in human rights activities. In addition, I am sure, Tseng for the organization of such a structure needs a leader.
And when there is high turnover among the 70 thousand workers nowhere to take it and there is no team spirit, necessary for the organization of trade Union. During the work, Tseng made friends with many colleagues or roommates. “But its always different people, because the schedules are so that employees do not work at the plant with those who share a room then,” he says.
Some workers come with their wives or girlfriends, but in this case they have to rent an expensive apartment outside the territory, since the hostel does not provide rooms for couples. During Zzang changed my ideas about work.
“Contrary to common belief, they are not uneducated. On shift a lot of talk about the history of the United States, Sino-American relations and on the situation of the South China sea. In parallel to discuss horror movies, life of celebrities or other abstract things”. According to the source Business Insider, each of them has its own purpose for which they suffer this work to send their children to a good school or extra classes.
“Actually, no one likes the plant. For all this source of income. They only think about money, forgetting about fatigue,” he says. I think the work on the plant should be considered only as a way to prevent homelessness.
Since this work does not require skills, there is low entry threshold, but you feed and give shelter. So if youre in the city alone you have no friends or relatives who can support you — go to the factory. There you can earn some money to eventually build a life.
According to a former employee of the factory, none of the collectors did not want to stay there for long. Typically, people work two weeks to a month, and quit. But if the employee can last for a year or more, it may appoint the Manager of the line.
“Gradation at the plant such. The operator (the lowest level), the groups leader, product Manager, Department Manager, unit Manager and on the top of — the Director,” says Zeng. There are people who passed this chain, but we believed that more of what can be achieved — product Manager.
To advance on the career ladder need a lot of time and effort, but few are able to hold out for long in this mode. According to the student salary by local standards low, and few can afford to buy Apple products. “They dont want to buy it, knowing that two months of hard, exhausting work is not worth it”.
In addition, on the eve of the big announcements of new Apple products control in the factories becomes more stringent. For example, security personnel increase the sensitivity of metal detectors at the entrance. “So much so that they worked on girls in bras was a metal “bone”.
They were not allowed”. At this time the factory was attended by representatives of Apple, which controlled the build process. The companys management called them with the word “customer,” and were more attentive as to the process of production and to the collectors.
“It was mad clean — we took a special roller and cleansed the parts from dust. As they watched, to comply with all instructions and regulations. Also we were forbidden to talk or sleep,” says Zeng.
According to the source Business Insider, during production run iPhone 7 there was not very much, and he was bored, struggling to sleep. “I remember one day when I three times fell asleep in front of the conveyor. The third time the Manager could not stand it, and told me to work standing up”.
Factory workers can not recycle because they lack basic salary. Zeng held the factory for six weeks. For the month, including overtime, he received about $450. “Its a minimum wage for China,” he says.
According to Business Insider, during the election campaign, the President of the United States Donald trump promised to bring back manufacturing back into the country. “I dont think it will be profitable for Apple, because American workers will cost the company more. Even if it will open plants in the US, it will be cheaper to automate most of the processes,” — says Zeng.
After completion of the work at the plant, Tsang no longer thinks there may be a strike. However, even if this happens — it does not change the relationship of customers to Apple products. In addition, the student also has an iPhone — hes got the SE model.
“We need to talk more about the conditions in which they are going. Every day when you use your iPhone, think about how many people work day and night to create this device,” he concludes.