The Fair Labor Association has been investigating working condition for workers of Foxconn facilities located in China. The FLA reported that it interviewed some 35,000 workers at Foxconn factories in Guanian, Longhua, and Chengdu. They also reported that of the 35,000 workers they interviewed only 4% of them were under the age of 18 with 16 being the legal working age in China.
Foxconn has been under fire for some time for poor working conditions for workers in their factories. Some working conditions even led to worker suicides at its factories in China. Outlined below are the pain points of the investigation of Foxconn.
- Average hours worked per week was found to be fifty-six (the legal limit is forty-nine hours a week including overtime).
- Half of the workers reported that they had worked eleven or more days in a row.
- Thirty-three percent of the workers said that they wanted to work more hours, and feared that further restrictions would lead to lower pay.
- While the factory workers make more than the minimun wage in China, sixty-four percent said that their pay was not enough to “cover basic needs.”
- Minimum wage in Shenzhen is 1,500RMB per month (about $220), and the starting salary at Foxconn is 1,800RMB or $265. After a probation period the salary is raised to 2200RMB or $325 per month.
- Average reported salaries at each factory were: Chengdu, 2257RMB, Longhua, 2687RMB, and Guanlan, 2872RMB.
- Unions do exist at Foxconn, but the FLA found that membership is primarily at the managerial level, with many production line workers reporting they didn’t know unions existed.
- One of the FLA’s main complaints is that Foxconn pays overtime in sections of 30 minutes, meaning that if a worker completed 25 minutes of overtime, Foxconn paid them no overtime, and got that piece of labor for free.
- The FLA requests that the routine (and legal) practice of posting the names of workers facing disciplinary action on the company website and notice boards in the Guanlan factory cease immediately.
- “Young workers (16 to 17 years of age) were found working at hazardous areas, such as CNC section or in some positions that could possibly put them at risk from chemicals or expose them to physical risk factors such as aluminum dust, noise, thermal conditions and vibration.”
- Resigning from a job at Foxconn is “extremely difficult,” so many workers simply stop showing up, thus giving up their outstanding wages.
Both Apple and Foxconn have pledged to improve the conditions at the factories in China. They promised to improve the conditions and change their practices by 2013. The condition and practices will then be in compliance with both Chinese Law and the FLA’s standards.
What do you think of the conditions of the Foxconn factories and the pledge to fix them for the workers? Comment below.