Steve Jobs Defends iPhone Factory Conditions

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Following a spate of suicides, the Apple boss has defended conditions at a Taiwanese electronics firm that produces the  iPhone.

There have been 13 suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn factories in 2010. “We’re all over this,” Jobs said, as he explained that Apple representatives were working with the firm to find out why 10 workers had killed themselves at the factory in Shenzhen, China.

The intense working conditions — employees are known to work up to 12 hour days, six days a week — have been cited as a cause for the suicides, but Jobs portrayed the factory in a different light entirely: “You go in this place and it’s a factory but, my gosh, they’ve got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it’s pretty nice.”

As for Foxconn,  it’s confirmed it will give its assembly line workers a 30% pay rise. “We hope the hike in wages will help improve the living standards of the workers and allow them to have more leisure time, which is good for their health,” an official of Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision said.

Hon Hai Precision is the world’s largest maker of consumer electronics, and employs 800,000 workers, mainly in China.  Jobs did admit that the deaths were “troubling” but insisted that  “Foxconn is not a sweatshop.” He was speaking at the All Things Digital conference in California.

See pictures from inside the Foxconn factory.