Foxconn Axes 60,000 Workers and Replaces Them with Robots
John Williamson / 5 years ago
Foxconn is the world’s largest manufacturing contract company and produces a huge range of products for leading brands including Apple. They’ve also been responsible for creating Sony’s last two consoles and shipping units out on a mass scale. As you can imagine, they are an essential component of the modern consumer electronics sector and relied on to offer consumers innovative creations. Sadly, the huge demand placed on workers resulted in cases of suicide and raised questions about working conditions. To address these concerns, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visited a Foxconn factory and reassured the company’s commitment to ensuring each employee felt happy in their working environment. Despite this, there’s still an overriding feeling that the demands on Foxconn staff are unreasonable.
Unfortunately, this is immaterial now, and the company like many others in the industry have been investing into the concept of a robotic workforce. According to TechInAsia, Foxconn has axed 60,000 workers in one of their factories and replaced them all with robots. Once these revelations came into the public eye, Foxconn decided to issue the following statement:
“We are aware of media reports about automation operations at our facilities in China, including Kunshan, and can confirm that Foxconn has been investing in the automation of many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations throughout our facilities in China for many years.”
“Our robotics and automation efforts are driven by the needs of each manufacturing process and our goal of continuously enhancing the quality of our products. Across all of our facilities today, we are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.”
While they didn’t explicitly state how many jobs were affected, it’s a landmark decision and illustrates how the modern workforce will dramatically change in the future. Thankfully, the South China Morning Post disclosed more concrete details about this move and said:
“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,”
More companies are expected to follow suit, and it seems likely that the days of humans working in factories producing products on a mass scale could be numbered.
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