FLA Finds Overtime/Pay/Safety Violations at Apple's Foxconn Plants in China
March 30, 2012 9:38 AM
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Tim Cook visits a Foxconn factory in China
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
report that cited poor working conditions for Foxconn employees who made Apple products. Apple CEO
Tim Cook was outraged by the
, 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.
Fair Labor Association
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Hate your boss/job?
3/30/2012 2:46:26 PM
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?
3/31/2012 1:48:02 AM
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...
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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