Workers as Machines: Military Management in Foxconn

Abstract Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidy of the Hon Hai Precision Industries Ltd., is the world’s leading electronics manufacturer. It ranks 112th among Global Fortune 500 Companies. Currently, Foxconn has a workforce of 900,000 workers all over China. The corporation is going to expand the workforce to 1.3 million people by the end of 2011. According to market research firm iSuppli Corp., in 2009, Foxconn took over 44% of the global revenue of the entire electronics manufacturing and services industry. iSuppli estimates that Foxconn will gain half of the industry revenue by 2011. Notwithstanding the fall of profit margins over the years, Foxconn’s business has been growing. This implies that Foxconn will keep pressing down labour cost to maintain its competitiveness in the industry. There is a close relationship between low wage, excessive overtime work and harsh management. Other than Foxconn, electronic brands like Apple, Nokia, HP, Dell, Sony, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola, which have placed orders with Foxconn, also bear indispensable responsibility in the tragedies. All these brands are making huge profit at the cost of the workers. Likewise, we are consuming the blood and tears of the workers, a fact hidden from us by fancy advertisements.  This report aims to reveal the actual working and living conditions of workers at Foxconn to mobilise public support for their struggle against their plight. Instead of ineffectively pleading corporations to restrain themselves against labour rights violations, SACOM urges concerned organizations, consumers, investors, and the government to join the workers to pressure electronic factories to deliver decent working conditions in the electronic industry.
Author Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), 13 October 2010
8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries