”Made in the EU” : Foxconn in the Czech Republic
2014-08-01T13:28:56Z (GMT) by
Next to its 32 factories in mainland China, Foxconn has other 200 factories and subsidiaries around the world on which there is little or no data. This article focuses on plants in the Czech Republic, Foxconn’s most important European site and the hub for export-oriented electronics industry. It asks whether there are similarities between Foxconn’s Chinese and European sites, two locations commonly imagined as separate and opposite in their management practices and treatment of the workforce. Drawing on 60 interviews with workers and privileged informants, the article outlines the labour process, forms of control, composition of labour, the role of the state, and the reach and impact of the trade unions in Foxconn’s Czech plants. It makes visible the deterioration of working conditions in the Czech Republic Union, both under European Union regulations and just-in-time production by multinationals, and suggests that in order to understand the ongoing changes there is a need to move away from the idea of labour and labour markets as solely domestic actors and towards a discussion on globally integrated politics of production.