China, we all know it is an emerging economy; in fact it is safe to say they have arrived. Foxconn employ 1.2 million people making them the 10th largest employer. Many Chinese employees of Foxconn work for them simply because they haven’t got the means to do anything else. The employees work consists of repetitive manual work, long 12 hour days, six days a week, combined with unrelentless stance on increasing productivity. Foxconn boasts Sony; Toshiba and Sharp. But its biggest partner is by a country mile is Apple, making in excess of 100 million apple products. But what’s the cost of using FaceTime and iMessage.
For anti-suicide nets to be an imperative when building new Foxconn factories what does that say about the working conditions of Foxconn. These nets were installed when 14 workers jumped to their deaths when clearly being unhappy due to the work conditions in which they are kept in as aforementioned.
When Foxconn go to employ it is as if Beyoncé is making an appearance in the once derelict factories riddled with suicide nets. But what makes people want to work for somewhere there are no job prospects; no ability to elevate within the company. Many of the workers whom work for Foxconn aren’t even treated with the same rights as their urban counterparts. The reason for this is because they are seen as migrants within in their own country. The class consciousness definitely has to be placed some blame upon the reasons why people would rather work for Foxconn knowing that people commit suicide at the hands of this company. Especially as China is becoming an emerging if not already emerged economy the need to be able to fit into the western ideology of social groups such as middle class which is emerging rapidly, the precariat then comes into existence and the sense of not belonging also kicks in.
Jenny Chan an active and vocal person in the atrocities which Foxconn take part in had interviewed a young 17 year old girl from a village in China. This young girl tried to commit suicide to escape what she had to endure with Foxconn. She survived this but as a result is now paraylsed from the waist down. Again this can be attributed to the sense of normlessness and not belonging and once again epitomises the stance of Guy Standing’s precariat, this is depicted in this quote: ‘while youths are having trouble beginning a viable life’ (Standing, 2011).
The youth are clearly the ones being Foxconned with urbanisation rapidly growing so too does the ability for the youth to be seriously exploited; however outdated this information may be ‘The number of college graduates waiting for employment in 2004 has increased to 690,000 and there will be an increase of 790,000 again in 2005’. (Jieying, Yunxiao, Jing Jian 2006)
Foxconn is world’s 10th biggest employer: 1.2 MILLION on payroll (March 2012) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/20/foxconn_tenth_biggest_employer/ [Date accessed 6th of December 2014]
Standing, G (2011) The Precariat: The new dangerous class. Bloomsbury Academic.
Jieying X, Yunxiao S, Jing Jian X,2006, Chinese Youth in Transition. Ashgate Publishing.