Foxconn alleged to treat humans like machines -

A Hong Kong labour group has penned a stiff rebuke to the company that manufactures Jobs' Mob's iPhone.

According to a report  from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) Foxconn treats its workers like "machines".

Having gathered data from interviews with 120 of the the firm's workers in mainland China, Foxconn's employees were forced to work excessive overtime with "military-style training".

The group said that SACOM was startled by the dire working conditions. Many Foxconn employees worked 80 to 100 hours of overtime a month on top of their regular 174 hours -  more than three times China's legal limit.

The Chinese workers have to work overtime because the basic salary is not enough for survival. The workers earn as little as $US200 a month.

Workers were made to skip meal breaks during a typical 10-hour daily shift while new employees had to undergo "military training".

"The content of the military training is merely standing. A supervisor will ask dozens of workers [to] line up in discipline and form a square. Workers are required to stand still as a soldier for hours," the report said.

Mistakes in work resulted in harsh punishment, with some workers forced to write a "confession letter" read out to their colleagues.

Foxconn has promised to investigate any complaint SACOM makes, but has said that it has to be specific.

In a comment to AFP, Foxconn said that its policies and practices are regularly audited by our customers and their consultants, by government officials and by our own teams, any violations of the law "are immediately addressed".

Foxconn is the world's largest maker of computer components and produces the iPhone and iPad for Apple as well as gear for Sony and Nokia. It employs about one million workers in China, about half of them based in its main facility in Shenzhen.

Apple has previously investigated the Foxconn plant, after there was a string of suicides amongst workers. However it gave the outfit a clean bill of health.

Strangely, although Apple flogs its gear to "Young, liberal Americans" there has been no backlash against it. When Nike, which sells stuff to the same market,  was found to be making its gear in South American sweat shops, it lost a lot of its customers.  Apple punters do not seem to care where they get their gear from provided that they can buy it.