The dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 1.
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The hard life of young workers in Foxconn factory in China


Wu Dong, a Foxconn factory worker in Shenzhen, said he just reread the novel "The Life of Abandoned Pine Nuts" by Japanese writer Yamada Zongshu.

"When a happy person looks at this book, he will feel hurt. Those who are destined to be unlucky will be pleased to see this book. Because it turns out they are not alone", this 9x youth said. He thought he belonged to the second group.

In 2014, Ngo Dong graduated from the Japanese department of a university and started to step into society. His first job was at a Taiwanese company in Hunan. His mission is to respond to Japanese customers' letters and process orders. After more than a month, Ngo Dong quit his job. He said the Taiwanese boss was not friendly with him.

"When I first went to work, my courage was relatively small. The boss always stared at my work and if something went wrong, such as the wrong size of paper, he would scold him very much. heavy words, "he said. When criticized, Ngo Dong is easily stressed, making the work even more disturbing.

After leaving this company, he went to a factory as a warehouse manager and a forklift driver. Nearly four months later, he left because of his relationship with his boss and colleagues. Do not smoke, he is often separated from the crowd. Without communication, the relationship between people becomes unclear and gradually distant.

After resigning, he continued to do many other jobs such as industrial engineer in charge of designing and building factories, serving a massage parlor or real estate agent …

Last year, he started working as a worker at Foxconn in the assembly line. The work and targets were initially relatively low, but then the indicators would increase gradually, requiring workers to work hard. In his view, the workers in the factory are not united. On the same assembly line, slow-working workers will be required to replace by fast-moving workers. But if everyone unites, works at a speed not too fast, all will be a little more comfortable. Ngo Dong said he felt the factory was very dull and the most frightening thing was that everyone was familiar with this atmosphere, gradually becoming "paralyzed".

"I am not used to that, I am not used to the silence, I can always leave," the resignation seems to be Wu Dong's last weapon against all pressure. He always thought he had something different.

Doing night shift in Foxconn's workshop, he had to operate continuously from 7 pm to 7 am the next morning. This was his ninth job after graduation. Before that, he had enrolled in a computer science class, because listening to the ad said it would be easy to find a good salary. Tuition is 10,000 yuan (about 33 million) and he must pay by credit card. When he had to pay the bill for the second month, he withdrew money from another credit card. That's why you have to go to the factory to work, earn money and pay off debts.

In college, he enjoyed reading novels of Japanese writers. Besides, he also often plays music. As a literary lover, he cares a lot about Chinese society, often writes articles to share on social networks about his life and feelings.

Current work is not too hard but inconvenient in time. Ngo Dong said he would not work here for too long because he did not like the atmosphere at the factory. When it comes to the future, he says he wants to do his hobbies. On non-working days, Wu Dong participated in community classes. He is studying drama performances and plans to start writing stories for workers.

The unspecified dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 2.

Tieu Nha is a young female worker. She enjoys reading political commentary on the phone application. But she said: "It's just to comfort yourself when you're in trouble. In fact, people like us are basically shaped. We can try harder to change jobs, but the common fate cannot be changed ".

She left three times and returned to Foxconn. The first part that Tieu Nha worked with was to produce a part of the iPhone phone and the components needed to be treated with laser light. If laser light shines into the eye, it will burn the retina, so goggles are very important. But she found that the protective goggles provided by the factory were not cleaned and checked regularly as prescribed.

Before leaving the company, Tieu Nha decided to appeal to the management. She called Foxconn's "Workers Hotline" to report. In addition to goggles, she also complained about the lack of harmful environmental subsidies promised by the factory, as well as the threat of harassment from male workers and female workers. Shortly thereafter, the head of the department called up Xiao Yan and pleaded with her to withdraw the complaint. She did not agree. But two months after asking her former colleague, she learned that the policies had not changed.

She said she could not trust the "hotline". Previously she had submitted an anonymous complaint, but the support staff had requested to give detailed information, then they would send a report to the head of the department. There was even a time when the head of the department called all the workers back and asked the anonymous sender to stand up and take responsibility.

Tieu Nha does not blame the people in charge of the hotline, because she knows they are usually female workers who are pregnant. Because they are unable to participate in other production locations, they are arranged on line and are often not trained professionally.

The dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 3.

The second time when she returned to Foxconn to work, she was promoted to a management position due to her excellent work ability. In the new role, she can receive an extra 500 yuan (about 1.7 million VND) each month while the main task is to assign tasks to people without touching the chain. assembly.

But she refused. Because she could not understand Foxconn's management system and felt that in the new management position she would have to try to squeeze workers like the other managers often do. For example, adjust the time to reduce employees' salaries.

Over the past few years, Tieu Nha has taken courses organized by a number of social organizations and built her own views on "fairness", "equality" and "dignity". When she realized that the factory was a small society, lack of contact between people and people, full of snobbery and carelessness, she chose to protest in her own way instead of being silent. Some workers advised Tieu Nha not to be stubborn and spread negative news. But compared to making money, she values ​​her own views more. She hates inequality and hopes to be treated fairly, for herself and for others.

The third time returned to Foxconn, Tieu Nha joined the grinding workshop. Here workers need to be given a dedicated respirator, but what they always wear is just a mask containing a normal activated carbon filter. Working environment seriously affects health, especially facial skin. But the gas mask problem was not resolved, so she wanted to switch to other workshops. However, it is difficult to transfer the part at Foxconn, because allowing a worker or a change of job will make a surplus of labor, causing it to be cut down in recruiting personnel in the next quarter. Therefore, workers often resign and apply to work again soon after.

The dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 4.

Leaving Foxconn this time, Tieu Nha is not ready to go back. Because she did not find hope to change her fate or others. In a factory with serious class distinctions, she felt that ordinary workers could only be forced to work to the fullest extent.

She took for example an overtime job. As a rule, overtime pay on Saturday will double. But Foxconn will give employees a longer break during the holidays and Tet, then make them make up on Saturdays, thereby reducing costs. The economic situation is also affecting the income of workers. The basic salary in 2018 is even slightly higher than in 2010-2011, even though the price and inflation rate have increased many times.

Latest news Tieu Nha received that Foxconn is considering investing in India to build a new factory to deal with rising costs in China. But according to her, wherever it is, the working environment will certainly not change. Because she left Foxconn, went to other factories and came back here, because in other places welfare is worse and workers are exploited more than that.

"You can only choose between 'bad' and 'very bad'," Tieu Nha said. "In fact, there is no other option."

Xiao Du is a 24-year-old female worker. Born in Chaoshan, Guangdong Province. There are three siblings in her house. Tieu Du and his sister have been educated since they were young, so they have to earn money to help their brother have money to get married, because women belong to the husband's house so their parents have to "suck" as much as possible. Her sister did not even go to school, and her brother, although he graduated from university, could not find a good job.

The dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 5.

Work is the only way to help her find freedom. She left home, stepped into society after a quarrel with her father because she felt that she was not respected in the family with this tradition of "respect men and women"

At Foxconn, she is looking forward to "real love", but soon realizes that "there is very little real love in this factory". She used to love a colleague but later discovered the man was married. Not only that, she also saw many tragic stories related to marriage. A female worker she is familiar with is married and has to work and take care of herself, always worrying about the cost of living for the baby every day.

According to Tieu Du, her definition of "true love" is that two people talk to each other like friends and help each other like the enemy's most loved ones.

Her current job gives her money and freedom, allowing Xiao Du to freely spend her money, buy the things she likes. Gradually, she learned to accept and forgive her family.

"Because I can't change my family, I can only accept it. My parents have taken care of me a lot," she said.

But she always believed that people should know something about gender inequality. Recently, Xiaoling left the factory, became a volunteer for a social organization dedicated to supporting female workers. In the future, she wants to become a preschool teacher because it is "a simple job, with children and having relationships that are not too complicated for everyone", according to her assessment of this work. .

The dark side of the iPhone assembly workers: You can only choose between bad and very bad - Photo 6.

Ngo Dong, Tieu Nha or Tieu Du are all young people born in the late 1990s, often considered a generation of Chinese youth with relatively high levels of education and strong self-awareness. But when they stepped into factories like Foxconn, they faced a miniature society in which the distribution of wealth became more and more unfair and technology upgrading trends to replace rising manpower. high.

Food and clothing are no longer the reason for their satisfaction. They fled from this factory, then resumed working for another factory, repeated. In the end, many people are tired and accept dependent on such a life.

According to the Chinese Bureau of Statistics, the total number of migrant workers in China reached 286 million in 2017, of which the proportion of new-generation workers born in 1980 or more accounted for more than half and increased every year. According to a survey conducted by the China Union Union, the average age of workers when they first work is 26 years old, with people from 1980 onwards average age of 18 years and since 1990 is 16 years old. That means that most young workers now have no experience in farming and often go straight from school to factory.

According to a 2017 population report, the dynamics of the new generation of workers in China are no longer based on "survival needs" but rather "desire to work in the city". Their dream of becoming city people is more resilient and intense than their parents, who value the comfort of the work environment and living conditions, as well as the social status brought about by their work. At the same time, in the face of discrimination and injustice, they are also conscious of protecting their rights in an increasingly stronger way.

Trong Cong

According to Young Intellectuals04.06.2019


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