The Fair Labor Association is back from a thorough investigation of Apple device supplier Foxconn in China. It found, as many have reported, numerous labor-rights violations such as long overtime hours and salaries that aren’t enough to cover basic needs for living.
The average monthly salary for factory workers ranges from $358 to $455. Over 60 percent out of the 35,000 employees surveyed by the FLA said this is simply not enough to support normal living expenses. Over 43 percent said they have either witnessed or been involved in a work-related accident. 14 percent of workers complain that they do not receive proper pay for overtime work, since pay is issued based on 30-minute increments. 29 extra minutes earns them nothing and 59 minutes earns only 30 minutes worth of pay. Normal hourly wages for those involved in the manufacturing of, say, an iPad are generally under $1.
Foxconn has agreed to dramatically revamp the working conditions. Effective immediately, all workers are now required to submit all work-related accidents and injuries that occur in the factory and will begin paying workers fairly for overtime and compensate the ones who have already fallen victim to the current faulty payment system. In total, Foxconn says it will fully comply with China’s laws for working hours and FLA’s 60-hour-per-week standard within sixteen months.
Apple has been heavily criticized for poor working conditions in supplier factories especially because of it has $100 billion in cash it could be spending to improve said conditions. The company is vowing to tackle all of the above issues as well. For a while, Apple has had a Supplier Responsibility page up on its website and recently started updating it on a monthly basis to show progress.
Apple gets the brunt of the disgust but to be fair, nearly every major device maker also uses companies like Foxconn to assemble its devices. That’s the dirty little secret about consumer electronics.
Full details of the investigation are available in PDF form on the official website of the Fair Labor Association.
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