Last week Apple released the iPhone 6, and are again in the midst of a storm about working conditions at Foxconn. Many young workers have contracted leukaemia even though Foxconn says that no workers have had direct contact with chemicals. Apple, Foxconn and Labour Action China, a labour NGO based in Hong Kong, are all investigating the case.
Since 2010 at least 13 workers aged under 20 at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory have contracted leukaemia, 5 of whom have died. The sufferers’ family members claim that this was caused by unsafe working conditions and exposure to chemicals. When the families visited the hospital they realised that many other patients were from the same factory and had the same illness.
Suki Chung, the secretary-general of Labour Action China said that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that many more workers could be infected. Chen Yandi, a worker from the labour NGO “Shenzhen Hand in Hand” told Caixin that this showed that Foxconn’s working environment was dangerous.
Labour Action China said in a statement that the use of Benzene and other poisonous chemicals has contributed to the death and injury of thousands of Chinese workers for many years. Despite emphasis being placed on safety in the workplace, these workers are still in danger.