Apple Inc. has endured its fair share of negative attention in recent months regarding treatment of workers at its contracted assembly operations at Foxconn in China. The results of a recent audit were released this past Thursday by China’s Fair Labor Association (FLA), which uncovered numerous “serious and pressing” violations of China’s labor code. Christina Bonnington of Wired reports,
A month-long investigation of Foxconn, the extensive factory network that makes Apple products in China, uncovered “serious and pressing” violations of labor standards and Chinese workplace law, according to a detailed report by the Fair Labor Association released Thursday.
Auditors found over 50 violations of FLA standards or Chinese law at the factories, ranging from safety hazards like blocked exits to improper overtime compensation.
“During peak production, the average number of hours worked per week at Foxconn factories exceeded both the FLA Code standard and Chinese legal limits,” reads the report. “This was true in all three factories. Further, there were periods during which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required minimum 24-hour break.” (Read more…)
Responding to concerns expressed by socially conscious consumers, among others, Apple has moved to advocate more ethical supply chain practices. The result is that changes in practice are coming to Foxconn.
But not everyone is overjoyed. Every action has a reaction, and occasionally these reactions are not what an altruistic activist might expect:
Workers will only be allowed to work a maximum of 49 hours per week, including overtime, and monthly overtime hours will be reduced from a maximum of 80 to only 36. Foxconn will also go on a hiring spree to expand the ranks of its 1.2 million employees to ensure these plans are reasonable to achieve. Although this sounds good to those of us who are concerned about their well-being, some workers aren’t so jazzed about the idea.
“A lot of us are unhappy with this,” Chen Yamei, a 25-year-old Foxconn worker told Reuters, “We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little.” Another Foxconn employee, 23-year-old Wu, said, “We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money.”
Inside Apple Changes Made at Foxconn
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Apple-Foxconn labour reform “raises the bar”
The Fair Labor Association says reforms put forward by Apple and Foxconn raise the bar to a level that “everyone else will have to meet”.
Are Western observers being ethnocentric? Ought we judge by Western standards? Are we prepared to pay higher prices to assure higher standards off shore? We would be interested in your feedback…
- The Ethical Supply Chain: Big Manufacturers Show Big Commitment Apple Inc.’s relationship with Foxconn, assembler of iPhones and iPads in China on behalf of the tech giant, has attracted its fair share of attention...