March 30, 2012

Under Intense Scrutiny, Foxconn Promises Improvements

A monthlong investigation by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) into factories operated by Foxconn in China found poor working conditions and worker abuse, leading Foxconn to pledge it will make improvements, writes Agam Shah for Computer World.

The reports from FLA revealed compensation issues, health and safety risks, and issues that have led to a “sense of unsafe working conditions among workers,” the organization said in a statement.

After a string of suicide attempts at facilities in China painted the company in a bad light, the manufacturer of choice for most of the tech industries biggest names came under fire again earlier this year after the New York Times published a story describing poor working conditions at Chinese factories operated by Foxconn.

The spotlight has been on facilities building the high demand products from Apple as that company basks in the glow of high earnings and positive press.

Apple also acknowledged violations related to issues such as wages, underage labor and working conditions in its 2012 annual supplier report issued in January, however Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended Apple´s record, saying the company is leading the way in improving working conditions.

If Foxconn is looking to make a quick improvement, it has been suggested that serve better food, reports Forbes´ Brian Caulfield. The FLA´s report includes raw data from the labor monitoring group´s survey of more than 35,500 workers about conditions inside the factories. In that survey, More than 70 percent of the workers at the factories complained about the quality of the food served at the company´s cafeterias.

Sixty-four percent of workers reported their compensation was not enough to cover their basic needs, 43.3 percent had “experienced or witnessed” accidents, and 64.9 percent of workers said they had experienced pain after a full day of work

Scott Nova, executive president of Worker Rights Consortium questions whether Apple and Foxconn will keep any of the promises they made, following the FLA´s report, writes the Associated Press.

“They have been promising to end forced overtime since 2006, for example, and have not done it. I hope this will be different, but skepticism is in order until we see proof of real progress,” Nova wrote in an email message.


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