Feeds

iPad maker Foxconn catches fire, claims no casualties

Just another troubled day for Chinese workers

The essential guide to IT transformation

A dramatic fire that billowed black smoke from the roof of Chinese gadget-assembler Foxconn has been extinguished without casualties or interruption in service.

So reports Reuters, citing Foxconn officials who said that the fire, reported earlier today, broke out in electrical cables on the roof of one building. All was under now under control, they said – and the damage would be covered by insurance.

It's not known exactly what activities took place in the now top-toasted building in Shandong, eastern China, but the massive company assembles products for a host of international product-punters, including Apple, Sony, Nokia, and others.

Although Foxconn is well known for its work on, for example, Cupertinian handsets and fondleslabs, its arguably better known for its turbulent employee relations. Here's a sampling: an explosion in May that killed three; accusations of child labor, bribery, and unsafe working conditions; worker protests; alleged worker poisoning with industrial chemicals; violence to workers; the harrassment of reporters covering worker problems; and – perhaps most famously – a spate of employee suicides.

Those who follow the rapid rise of Chinese manufacturing are well aware that Foxconn is not alone in treating employees with a harshness that wouldn't be tolerated in Western industrial settings. In fact, as a large corporation, it's likely that Foxconn's treatment of its employees is more even-handed than smaller, less-examined manufacturing entities, especially those in the 'Wild West' atmosphere outside of major industrial zones.

That said, Tuesday's fire coupled with the May explosion and other problems at Foxconn's sprawling facilities underscore the difficulties faced by a workforce consisting largely of disempowered migrants from rural China.

But fear not, Foxconn is working on one solution to the plight of workers without rights or a voice in management decisions: replace them with robots. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?