iPhone makers ‘ate rotten food in rat-filled rooms’ doing overtime for £4 a day

If you've tried to buy an iPhone or Playstation in the last year or two, you might have noticed how little stock most shops have had.

COVID-19 lockdowns and supply shortages have meant some popular bits of tech have been very hard to come by, but that's not the only reason.

In December 2021, Reuters reports emerged from an iPhone factory in India claiming that workers had to live in rat-infested dormitories without running water and eat mouldy food, while being paid $140 per month.

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The Foxconn plant in Chennai, which Apple uses to outsource iPhone production, was shut down and placed 'on probation' following reports that worker dormitories were sub-standard and that more than 150 women were sent to hospital with food poisoning.

The events led to workers protesting on December 17, which was reportedly shut down by police.

Staff were placed on paid leave until the factory meets Apple's 'strict standards', with neither Foxconn nor Apple confirming when the plant would re-open.

The Daily Star has approached Apple for an update on whether the factory is operational again.

This incident wasn't the first time that iPhone manufacturers have been criticised for poor working conditions. Foxconn's Longhua plant, aka 'iPhone city', is one of the largest and most secretive factories of its kind in the world and produces the majority of the world's iPhones.

It drew controversy in 2010 after a spate of assembly line workers killed themselves. That year, there were 14 confirmed deaths and 18 reported suicide attempts, with Foxconn eventually installing 'suicide nets' on buildings. Workers were even told to sign pledges that they would not try to end their lives.

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Away from the factories, workers at Apple itself are becoming increasingly outspoken about their pay and conditions.

In June, Apple staff in Baltimore, USA voted to unionise, saying it was "about us as workers gaining access to rights that we do not currently have" and that the union doesn't want to "go against or create conflict with our management".

Meanwhile, Apple store workers in Glasgow have taken a step closer to forming the first Apple union branch in the UK, with bosses set to sit down with staff to discuss union efforts.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.


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