Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poor working conditions prompt Brazilian Foxconn workers to threaten strike

When most think of Apple's primary manufacturing partner Foxconn, they think of China. However, Foxconn has sites in other countries, including their recently opened Brazilian factory, which builds the iPad, and which is now giving them headaches.

The report comes from the Brazilian tech site, Tech Guru (Google Translation). At a Foxconn plant in JundiaĆ­, Brazil, over 2,500 Foxconn employees have complained about conditions at the factory. Workers met with company officials last Monday to raise their concerns, and have given the company 10 days to address them.

The complaints range from overcrowded buses to poor food and lack of water. If the issues are not resolved by May 3, the employees have threatened to strike.

A representative for the employees was hopeful that a resolution to the issues could be reached without resorting to a strike.

The report did not specifically say whether the workers threatening strike are working on iPad or iPhone production lines. iPhone 4 units produced in Brazil reached the Brazilian market in February; Brazilian plants have only been manufacturing the last-generation 8GB handset model.

Meanwhile, in early April, it was noted that Apple had been given approval to begin selling Brazilian-made iPads in the country, as well. To this point, not even Chinese-made "new iPads" have been available in the country. This is expected to change by the second or third week of May.

Initially, officials in Brazil began pushing for Foxconn manufacturing in their country in the hope that Apple's products could then be priced lower. Manufacturing Apple's products in Brazil could, they noted, bypass the high import taxes the products otherwise face.

At the same time, Foxconn, Apple, and other technology firms considering building products in Brazil see the same possible advantage. They also hope that Brazil could be a "jumping off" point for shipments to other Latin American countries.

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