Chinese iPhone factory is 'pretty nice', says Jobs

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The Independent Online

For employees at Foxconn, the Chinese company that manufactures iPads and iPhones, life at 30p an hour can sometimes seem difficult. But after a suicide crisis that has seen 10 employees kill themselves since February, Apple boss Steve Jobs has taken a different view.

Speaking at a technology conference in California yesterday, he suggested that the Shenzhen plant was anything but a sweatshop. "You go in this place and it's a factory," he conceded. "But my gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice."

Despite these extras, workers have complained about the working conditions. Yesterday BusinessWeek magazine reported workers saying conversation was forbidden on the production line. "Life is meaningless," said one 21-year-old employee. "We get yelled at all the time."

Jobs did say that the suicides at Foxconn were "troubling", but added that "the rate is under what the US rate is". Apple, he insisted, was "all over this". He said he hopes improved pay and conditions will reduce the number of suicides.