Hong Kong Protesters Picket Apple's Supply Chain
HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters picketed Foxconn's annual general meeting in Hong Kong on Tuesday, accusing both the Apple Inc. supplier and computer giant of poor corporate ethics after a spate of suicides at Foxconn factories in mainland China.
The 30 demonstrators held signs saying, "Workers are not machines. They have self-esteem," outside a hotel function room where shareholders of Hong Kong-listed Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. were meeting.
They also targeted Apple Inc., waving a cardboard cutout of Chief Executive Steve Jobs with devil's horns and another placard featuring the company logo and the words "Bloody Apple."
Eleven workers have killed themselves and three attempted suicide at Foxconn's operations in China this year, mainly by jumping from buildings.
Protesters also laid white flowers at an Apple shop in a tribute to the dead workers. Organizer Debby Chan accused Foxconn of poor management, urging the Taiwanese manufacturer of iPhones and iPads to raise wages and let workers set up an independent union.
Chan said Apple should do a better job of monitoring labor and safety standards at their suppliers.
"They should strengthen their sense of corporate social responsibility," Chan said in a phone interview.
Calls to Apple and Foxconn went unanswered, and there was no immediate response to e-mails seeking comment.
Foxconn — the world's largest contract maker of electronics — announced two pay raises for their Chinese workers after the recent suicides. Company officials are also installing safety nets in buildings and hiring more counselors.
Labor activists accuse the company of having a rigid management style, an excessively fast assembly line and forced overwork, but Foxconn denies the allegations.