The publicity surrounding the assembly lines in China where Apple devices are constructed by workers paid so little they do not get deducted tax has been described as the computer world's "Nike moment".
Foxconn has now allowed in cameras to see workers assembling devices such as iPads. One executive said: "You being here is part of the openness, part of the learning, part of the change that Foxconn is undergoing." Since the low wage levels were highlighted in The Independent and other media the company has decided to raise them by an average of 25 per cent, but Apple has already faced widespread criticism. However, there are hopes the exposure will result in extensive improvements in conditions.
"We call it the 'Nike moment' in the industry," Ines Kaempfer, of the Fair Labor Association, told ABC. "There was a moment for Nike in the '90s, when they got a lot of publicity; negative publicity. It's probably like Apple. They're not necessarily the worst, it's just that the publicity is starting to build up. And there was just this moment when they just started to do something about it. And I think that's what happened for Apple."
The average starting salary at the factory of less than £1 an hour meant workers could do 80 hours overtime and still not earn enough to reach the minimum tax bracket.