Foxconn Commits to Improve Working Conditions

By Nick Ruble March 30, 2012

Foxconn, a contract manufacturer for Apple, Dell, HP, Nintendo and many others, has recently been making headlines due to its horrible treatment of employees. An array of problems were found by the Fair Labor Association in at least three facilities in China – including excessive amounts of aluminum dust floating around and majorly overworked employees. In some cases, personnel weren’t even given 24 hours off in an entire week.

Reports from the FLA stated, “All three factories exceeded both the FLA Code standard of 60 hours per week (regular plus overtime) and the Chinese legal limits of 40 hours per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month. During peak production periods, the average number of hours worked per week exceeded 60 hours per worker. There were periods in which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required 24 hours off.”

The evaluation was arranged after two explosions, in two separate factories, occurred in Chengdu. Between January and November of 2012, a slew of employees took their own lives due to the brutal working conditions - Foxconn seems to have an endless list of lives it has ruined in one way or another.

The company obviously has a lot on its plate, considering that fact that it’s the top manufacturer for number of leaders in the electronics industry, but there’s really no reason to treat employees like this. As the age-old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Foxconn has already taken the first steps in improving its working conditions and treatment towards employees – including the addition of protective gear and freeing up blocked exits. However, it will be over a year before laborers will see any change in pay or reduced hours.

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder of the activist group SumOfUs is a bit skeptical as to whether or not the company will hold its promise though. “The proposed remedies in the FLA’s report could be a good step forward if implemented in an accountable and serious way – but we know that Apple made these same promises six years ago,” she said. “Let's be clear - this report admits that Foxconn is breaking the law on a daily basis. And it says that it's going to take up to 15 months before Foxconn will stop breaking the law.”

Only time will tell if Foxconn will in fact stick to its word and show a little compassion for its employees. If not, the company’s relationship with many of its major clients may have to be severed so they don’t get a bad rap as well.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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