Print 28 comment(s) - last by ianweck.. on Mar 31 at 2:21 AM

Tim Cook visits a Foxconn factory in China  (Source:
The FLA is working to fix these issues with reduced overtime, better compensation and elected employee representatives

Apple has been in some hot water since January when The New York Times published an article about the unfair treatment of workers in the company's suppliers' factories in China, but Apple's voluntary submission to the Fair Labor Association's (FLA) rigorous inspections is beginning to turn the situation around.

The FLA recently investigated three different Foxconn factories in China where Apple products are made. After spending 3,000 staff hours watching 35,000 workers, the FLA found that there were indeed some violations that needed to be addressed. Among those violations were overtime, pay and health-related issues.

The FLA discovered that Foxconn employees were working beyond the Chinese legal limits of 40 hours per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month over the last year. Many employees worked over 60 hours per week (especially during peak production periods), and worked more than seven days in a row without the 24 hours off that is required.

Both Apple and Foxconn have agreed to comply with the FLA's changes, which will be to decrease working hours to 49 per week (including overtime) and reducing monthly overtime hours from 80 to 36. Also, overtime payment, which is typically paid in 30-minute increments, will change for the better. Traditionally, a worker had to work 30 minutes for overtime, but if they worked 29 minutes, they wouldn't receive the overtime payment. IF they worked 59 minutes, they only received 30 minutes of overtime payment. Workers will now be compensated for the time they work, not just in 30-minute increments.

For those employees that depend on the income that came from extended overtime, Foxconn will offer a compensation package to prevent workers from losing income due to decreased overtime.

Aside from overtime, 64 percent of Foxconn workers said their general pay did not meet basic needs, such as the cost of living in their respective cities. The FLA is now investigating if that is the case.

The FLA also interviewed employees about their working conditions, and 43 percent said they have witnessed or experienced an accident. Accidents ranged from minor injuries to factory vehicle accidents, and safety issues like missing permits and blocked exits were taken care of during the investigation. The FLA also requires supervisors and workers to report all injuries now; not just those that end in a production stoppage.

In addition, the FLA found that workers were being represented strictly by management, but changed this by electing worker representatives to speak for the others.

"If implemented, these commitments will significantly improve the lives of more than 1.2 million Foxconn employees and set a new standard for Chinese factories," said Auret van Heerden, FLA president and CEO.

The investigation came after Apple voluntarily joined the FLA, following the negative NYT report that cited poor working conditions for Foxconn employees who made Apple products. Apple CEO Tim Cook was outraged by the NYT report, which accused his company of not caring about its supplier's employees overseas.

After joining the FLA, van Heerden initially reported in February that Apple's Foxconn plants were not so bad after all. In fact, he said they were "first class," and that the workers were just bored with the monotony of their jobs, which led to the accidents in the factories. Now, it seems the opposite is true and the workers were in fact pushed to their limits.

However, Apple has made a valid effort to check out the situation in China. Just this week, Cook visited its latest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, where 120,000 employees work.

Apple and Foxconn agreed to meet FLA working standards/Chinese legal limits by July 2013.

Source: Fair Labor Association

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Motoman on 3/30/2012 9:51:31 AM , Rating: 5
There was that other guy there who said everything was fine. So...everything's fine. No reason at all why people were killing themselves there...nope. Just a bizarre coincidence. Nothing to see here...move along.

RE: Lies.
By A11 on 3/30/12, Rating: -1
RE: Lies.
By Motoman on 3/30/2012 10:31:44 AM , Rating: 5
Nice to see the dipsh1ts of this world are still trotting that red herring out.

Stupid people, like you, fundamentally misunderstand and misrepresent statistics.

Comparing the suicide rates of the workers of one particular facility to an entire population is pretty irrelevant. Compare that facility's suicide rate to other, similar facilities. That would be a valid comparison.

So you go right on and do that.

RE: Lies.
By A11 on 3/30/12, Rating: -1
RE: Lies.
By Motoman on 3/30/2012 11:08:13 AM , Rating: 4
You can stick your head in the sand, like all Macolytes do, and insist that reality isn't happening. However, you *know* you're intentionally misrepresenting a statistic, and that's not my problem - it's yours.

RE: Lies.
By A11 on 3/30/12, Rating: -1
RE: Lies.
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/30/2012 12:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
You can start at the bottom of this page

RE: Lies.
By Motoman on 3/30/2012 12:51:56 PM , Rating: 4
You're the one making the unusual claim without backing it up...and deftly trying to switch that around and saying I'm making the unusual claim.

Saying that there are less suicides amongst a group of people employed in a high tech industry than amongst a general population consisting of vast amounts of poverty-stricken and generally oppressed people is...saying nothing at all. Chalk that up to "duh."

*You* are claiming that the suicide rate at the Apple Foxconn facility is unremarkable based on that notion - I pointed out that the "fact" you've provided is worthless, and asked you to provide a worthwhile fact instead. Which, specifically, would be a comparison of the Foxconn Apple factory vs. other similar factories.

Instead of providing an actual, valid fact, you instead try to insinuate that I'm the one upon whom the burden of proof rests. But that's not the case - *you* are making the unusual claim that needs to be proven, and *you* have already been called out for providing deliberately misleading data. So *you* are the one who needs to put up, or shut up. Personally, I'd suggest the "shut up" part...but as with all Macolytes, you're just not all that likely to do something that rational.You're the one making the unusual claim without backing it up...and deftly trying to switch that around and saying I'm making the unusual claim.

Saying that there are less suicides amongst a group of people employed in a high tech industry than amongst a general population consisting of vast amounts of poverty-stricken and generally oppressed people is...saying nothing at all. Chalk that up to

RE: Lies.
By Tony Swash on 3/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: Lies.
By bupkus on 3/30/2012 6:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Right in the middle of reading this I fell asleep and had the most confusing dream ever.

RE: Lies.
By ianweck on 3/31/2012 2:19:51 AM , Rating: 2
Holy Ish! It's Tony!

RE: Lies.
By A11 on 3/30/2012 1:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
That's funny, I'm claiming everything is within the ordinary and you're claiming it isn't and yet I'm making the unusual claim?
Douglas Adams would like a word with you regarding burden of proof.

Anyway with all the media coverage this has had you may want to stop for a second there and think about why it is you can't produce a single document showing Foxconn has a higher than expected suicide rate before you go on.

RE: Lies.
By Pirks on 3/30/2012 3:17:22 PM , Rating: 1
Motoman is a very well known anti-Apple troll here, I've run through exactly same arguments with him many times before. It's always "you Macolyte dipsh1t go suck SJ dick" from him and nothing else. Believe me, you're wasting your time trying to hit him with a dose of reality, he's forever stuck in his little insulated bubble. Just forget it.

RE: Lies.
By geddarkstorm on 3/30/2012 6:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
Everything is not within the ordinary. You do understand the concept of sub populations and sampling pools for statistics, right?

RE: Lies.
By bupkus on 3/30/2012 6:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
higher than expected suicide rate
and this means what?

RE: Lies.
By bupkus on 3/30/2012 6:14:43 PM , Rating: 1
Can't help but wonder what the average suicide rate is for Daily Tech readers.

RE: Lies.
By ianweck on 3/31/2012 2:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on if Reclaimer is posting. Or Chick0n. No offence to either.

RE: Lies.
By ianweck on 3/31/2012 2:21:45 AM , Rating: 2
Or Pirks. Sorry Pirks, almost forgot about you!

1 Down, More to Go?
By ltcommanderdata on 3/30/2012 10:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
Now that the problems with Foxconn's Apple production operations have finally been brought to light by a reliable third-party and corrective actions seem to have been agreed upon and hopefully continuously audited, do these workplace improvements apply to the operations Foxconn does for many other high-tech companies like Microsoft, Samsung, Acer, and Dell?

RE: 1 Down, More to Go?
By Motoman on 3/30/2012 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
It hasn't been established that said problems exist at their other business units. The Apple business unit clearly has problems...but we haven't heard about what may or may not be happening at the other business units. It's easy enough to say "no news is good news" but I would certainly be interested to find out from the FLA or somebody else...

RE: 1 Down, More to Go?
By ltcommanderdata on 3/30/2012 1:52:04 PM , Rating: 2

“Although I know that the iPhone 4 is made at sweat shop factories in China, I still think that this is the only choice, because Apple is actually one of the best. Actually before I made a decision, I compared Apple with other cell phone companies, such as Nokia,” he said through a translator. “And the conditions in those factories are worse than the ones of Apple.”
Ironcially, Apple appears to be less concerned about factory conditions than its competitors, because of the company’s unwillingness to talk with advocacy groups like China Labor Watch and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior. Li said Dell and HP responded to his group’s reports about working conditions in their factories, but Apple ignored them. SACOM’s Debby Chan told us she had had helpful conversations with both Dell and HP, but Apple had refused to meet with her.

“Dell and Hewlett Packard are not doing as good as Apple is doing right now,” Li Said. “But when we talk about publicity and public relations, it’s another story.”

It's been previously reported by Chinese labour activists that working conditions for Dell, HP, and Nokia are actually worse than at Apple. The article points out that Dell, HP, and Nokia are more willing to talk about their issues, while Apple's traditional closed-lip approach makes them an easier target for criticism.

RE: 1 Down, More to Go?
By danjw1 on 3/30/2012 10:45:57 AM , Rating: 2
Now that is just funny. Of course not. Apple did say they were enforcing high standards, though. Chinese industry won't change as a general rule, unless the government starts enforcing its laws. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Shocking !
By Beenthere on 3/30/2012 12:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
Shocking I say, just shocking! Well maybe not. This is China and they do use slave labor to insure windfall U.S. CEO annual bonuses.

RE: Shocking !
By DigitalFreak on 3/30/2012 12:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
I found it "funny" that not only is Foxconn overworking it's workers, it's also breaking Chinese labor laws by doing so. I wonder if someone will be executed?

RE: Shocking !
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/30/2012 1:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
If China keeps this up, they'll be charging too much to make products and countries will be forced to outsource somewhere else....

Maybe Africa's next? ...

RE: Shocking !
By Trisped on 3/30/2012 5:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
Or bring production to the country which is consuming the product. Personally I think that is a way smarter idea.

Hate your boss/job?
By bebimbap on 3/30/2012 2:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
then quit. Find a better job/career

If I hated my job, should I just create a protest that I'm getting paid too little along with all the other employees then get raises based on our whining and not our performance? Maybe I'm just working too much, I should create a protest so I can sit at home watching tv and make $60,000 /year eating chips and drinking beer. Why even work at all? Stop being lazy and go find a better career.

I don't see why FLA or anyone has to come and "facilitate" changes. If you don't like your working conditions or pay, then you quit. If more of them quit and they couldn't fill the spot then the company will either have to hire new people, pay for their training and treat them better or pay the experienced people more and bring them back. If 500 people wanted the same ONE position, then the one that got the job shouldn't be acting like a king, since he's easily replaceable.

If you are saying that they can only make a good living working at Foxxconn then I will also disagree with that. If 1.7 billion chinese can live in the same country with the vast majority not working at Foxxconn, and some can afford more expensive iPhones and iPads than the USA because local corruption inflates prices of tech items, I don't see why anyone would think they are so down trodden and victimized to the point where they "need" help to survive. I have yet to see one photo of a factory worker in China have a gun up to his head being threatened to make an iPad. If you really care and don't like how they are treated then stop buying the products they make. Hitting a company in their pocket book is the same as hitting them in the family jewels.
Since we as USAmericans believe we work too hard, pay too much, earn too little and shouldn't have to deal with menial jobs, someone has to. If you don't like that one legged guy mopping up your mess, don't make a mess, but don't make him quit his job. Don't put him on welfare either. 100% of the population can't be on welfare or disability so stop saying they are "underprivilaged". Leave them be.

RE: Hate your boss/job?
By kyuuketsuki on 3/31/2012 1:48:02 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, such deep and meaningful insight. I'm glad the world is a simple, black and white place like you make it out to be. Well, time to sprinkle a bit of my magic pixie dust on myself and fly away to my beach-front property in Never Never Land...

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Latest Headlines
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki