Audit Shows Foxconn Improving Working Conditions
Workers at Foxconn in Shenzhen China jokingly called the factory that produces iPhones and iPads, "Mordor." After 14 workers committed suicide by leaping off the building, the factory fell under scrutiny for abusing workers. Some accused Apple of building its fortune on the backs of mistreated Chinese workers.
But according to a recent report by auditors hired by Apple Inc. and Foxconn, things are changing.
First, safety nets were put up to prevent successful suicide jumps. Then slightly more proactive measures were taken—wages went up, overtime hours were cut. But for many of the migrant workers who come to Shenzhen to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time possible, the cuts in overtime are not being well received.
[Geoffrey Crothal, China Labor Bulletin Communications Director]:
"Workers will only want less overtime if the basic pay they are getting is sufficient to work within the mandated overtime hours. But if they can only get a decent wage by working what we might call excessive overtime, then that's what they're going to have to do. So it'll really depend on the basic pay and what benefits that Foxconn provides."
Workers are still clocking up on average 60 hours of overtime a week, more than 20% the legal limit. Foxconn now says it will cut that to less than nine hours a week.
[Ting Lu, China Economist, Bank of America-Merrily Lynch]:
"If China's workers' quality and education and skills could be really improved and productivity in China is improved, then Chinese people and the Chinese workers deserve a higher wage and then GDP rate in China can be sustained, GDP per capita in China should be higher, then in this regard this is a very natural process of economic growth."
Foxconn currently employs around one million in its city-sized factory.