Apple placed a Foxconn iPhone factory near Chennai, India, on probation following an investigation into the facility’s substandard living and working conditions, which included crowded barracks and food infested with worms, multiple sources reported.
Apple decided to close the plant after an incident in which tainted food caused 250 workers to become ill, according to Reuters. Roughly 2,000 of the workers, all of whom were women, staged a protest following the incident.
The company launched an investigation into the iPhone facility’s living and working conditions following the protests and placed the factory on probation until it could meet company standards.
“Following recent concerns about food safety and accommodation conditions at Foxconn Sriperumbudur, we dispatched independent auditors,” an Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg. “We found that some of the remote dormitory accommodations and dining rooms being used for employees do not meet our requirements and we are working with the supplier to ensure a comprehensive set of corrective actions are rapidly implemented.”
Living arrangements at the facility’s dormitories consisted of crowded sleeping quarters, with workers forced to sleep on the floor and many facilities lacking running water, Reuters reported. The workers’ food was reportedly unsafe to eat on occasion, and at times, the facility was crawling with worms.
“People living in the hostels always had some illness or the other — skin allergies, chest pain, food poisoning,” one former worker, 21, told Reuters.
Indian food safety inspectors visited the dormitories and found rat infestations along with poor drainage, prompting them to close the facility’s kitchen, Reuters reported.
Foxconn told Bloomberg it was restructuring its local management team and would work to improve living conditions at the facility following Apple’s decision.
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