FLA: Foxconn Factory Conditions Better, Still Improving
August 22, 2012 4:27 PM
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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
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,
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
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
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RE: A perfect example why products should be made in the U.S.
8/23/2012 12:50:13 PM
True Story. What it would allow for is essentially levlling out the playing field for international business between the US and China (and likely the EU and China) instead of the skewed story we have today.
RE: A perfect example why products should be made in the U.S.
8/23/2012 1:43:26 PM
No, we'll never be on a level field with emerging economies. At the end of the day, we (collectively the West) are at a point with our national incomes that we focus on cradle-to-grave welfare states, environmental issues (some times to such an extreme that large-scale projects are near impossible) and other forms of related taxes and regulation. Emerging economies, not having our level of income, are happy to deal with a little smog and work hard and save for their own individual futures, so even with currencies that appear "fair" they are simply willing to work harder.
Plus, manufacturing jobs are repetitive tasks, and the type China does is repetitive and brain-dead jobs (maybe why liberals pine for them?), only done by humans because they're cheaper then robots. These aren't the jobs we should be shooting for, we should be focusing on higher value-added jobs.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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