Apple Must Take Complete Responsibility For Issues In Their Supply Chain

I am certain that readers of this blog would have seen videos of people in an iPhone plant run by Foxconn in China where people were literally fighting their way out of the plant because of a major COVID outbreak along with a lack of food and medicine. Not to mention a lack of pay. If you missed this, here’s a couple of clips for you to look at

Here’s the thing. Apple needs to take responsibility for this. I say that because I’ve been reading a lot of stories over the last two weeks. And the closest thing to responsibility that Apple has taken in terms of the conditions that caused these people to riot like this is as follows:

We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker.

Here’s the problem that I have with this. This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened. There was a riot last year in an iPhone plant run by Wistron where workers rioted because of poor living conditions and accusations of explotation:

Now Apple did slap the hand of Wistron over this. And I am sure that Foxconn will get something similar in terms of punishment over their recent issues. But the thing is that this sort of thing has now happened twice over the last year. And the only reason why this sort of thing happens is that Wistron and Foxconn think that they can exploit workers with little or no punishment from Apple. Which implies that Apple is okay with it unless something gets into news that shouldn’t. In which case Apple has to do something to show that they are large and in charge.

Let’s face facts. Apple and their shareholders want high profit margins on everything it sells. That means that Apple will go to places like India and China to get large amounts of workers to build iDevices at a low cost. And Apple will look the other way in terms of anything bad that might be going on in those places as a result. For a company who tries to claim the moral high ground in terms areas like privacy being a human right, which these days is questionable at best, this is pretty bad. Apple needs to own the fact that they have companies like Foxconn and Wistron working for them who clearly are bad actors, and do something substantive about it to ensure that products with their name on it are built by people who are not being actively exploited. Otherwise, Apple is simply talking the talk, but failing to walk the walk. Thus I hope that people in the US Congress are watching this situation closely and are prepared to hold Apple to account if Apple themselves don’t do the right thing and find ways to build iDevices that doesn’t involve the exploitation of workers by third parties. And when it comes to those who buy iPhones, perhaps every one of us need to take into account the conditions that the people who build your next iPhone work in before you take out your credit card to buy your next iPhone.

Your move Apple.

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