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Foxconn plants have cut overtime, but dorms could use some attention now

Apple has had a bit of trouble with its suppliers in China as far as working conditions go, but the Fair Labor Association (FLA) recently reported that Foxconn factories are improving.
Foxconn, which is the trading name for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is an electronics maker in China that builds Apple's iPhones and iPads. It has been placed under the microscope for years regarding issues like worker suicides and poor working conditions.
But the FLA recently audited Foxconn factories once again, and found that conditions are indeed improving in the way of cutting overtime and improving safety. For the Shenzhen Foxconn factory in particular, overtime hours had been cut from 80 per month to between 48 and 60. 
Factory higher-ups have also stressed their effort toward creating better living situations in dorms. However, this won't be so easy. According to Louis Woo, assistant to the CEO of Foxconn, cutting overtime means having to hire more employees to fill in extra shifts.
While cutting overtime is important so that employees are not pushed to the point of exhaustion -- which then leads to accidents on the job and sometimes emotional problems -- some employees have complained that they need the overtime in order to live semi-comfortably financially.
"A lot of workers have clearly come to Shenzhen to make as much money as they can in as short a period as they can, and overtime hours are very important in that calculation," said Woo. "We are picking up concerns now on the microblogs about what's likely to happen as hours get changed, and whether their incomes will be shaved as well." 
In 2010, Foxconn factories in China received a lot of media attention after a string of worker suicides occurred. It was revealed that these employees were overworked and suffered poor working and living conditions. In fact, explosions resulted from the build-up of aluminum dust used to polish iPad cases in Foxconn plants. 
In January 2012, The New York Times took Apple's supplier problems to another level by publishing a lengthy article on all the issues occurring in the Chinese factories. It pointed out issues like too much overtime, little pay and crowded dorms. Apple was accused of standing by idly despite receiving several violations of the company code of conduct from these factories. 
Shortly after the Times article, Apple volunteered to join the FLA for rigorous and random inspections of the Foxconn factories. Since, the FLA has performed the inspections and found that overtime hours, pay and safety were the top violations at Foxconn. However, it was odd that one month beforehand, FLA President Auret van Heerden reported that Foxconn plants were not so bad

Source: Reuters

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Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By tng on 8/23/2012 8:34:19 AM , Rating: 2
Although we all love to bash Apple, they aren't the only company to use them for assembly.

I have seen servers from HP, multiple brands of laptops, Xboxes, switching equipment, all made assembled at Foxconn.

As much as I would love to see those jobs come back to the US, with the costs of government regulation here and the cost of labor, I don't think they will ever come back.

RE: Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By NellyFromMA on 8/23/2012 12:47:41 PM , Rating: 1
I'd like to know what percentage of Foxconn output goes towards Apple vs other companies. I have a feeling the distribution is largely on the Apple side. So, there's nothing wrong with going for the worst offender, particularly if they offend by several magnitudes of power more than the next offender.

RE: Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By Ringold on 8/23/2012 1:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Apple's probably most famous for their use of them, but likely not even close to being a dominant part of what keeps their million or so direct and indirect employees toiling away:

Some of those I wasn't even aware of, that's kinda funny. Pretty much everybody. I bet in some cigar-smoke filled lounge in Silicon Valley, the executives all rib Apple exec's for being the poor sucker that happens to get all the attention when they all use them.

RE: Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By tng on 8/23/2012 1:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to know what percentage of Foxconn output goes towards Apple vs other companies.
Yeah, I would like to know as well. Frankly I was surprised at how many things I have seen assembled there since I started looking, especially every time I pull the cover off of a server and there it is, or fixing the RROD on the Xbox, replacing a cooling fan in my laptop, etc...

RE: Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By tayb on 8/23/2012 3:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
Who the hell cares what percentage goes toward Apple? Seriously, are you that obsessed?

RE: Not Just Apple Uses Foxconn
By NellyFromMA on 8/24/2012 11:38:10 AM , Rating: 2
WTF? I'm commenting on a story, hardly obsessed. Maybe take your meds? What's wrong with you?

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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