News Column

Foxconn Welcomes Report on Worker Conditions

Aug 22 2012 8:02AM

Foxconn Technology Group, Apple Inc.'s largest manufacturer, pledged Wednesday to continue improving worker conditions in China, after an international labour group reported the company was "ahead of schedule" on promised reforms.

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) said Tuesday Foxconn had implemented 79 per cent of the 360 recommendations it made after inspecting three factories in China from February to March, including less overtime, better working conditions, and higher pay.

"Our hope is that our efforts will not only benefit Foxconn, but that they will also serve as a model for other companies and help improve working conditions for the manufacturing industry throughout China," Louis Woo, special assistant to the company's chief executive, said in a statement Wednesday.

Foxconn has so far provided ergonomic breaks for workers, enlisted safety consultants, redesigned some equipment to reduce stress injuries, and updated factory emergency safety equipment, the FLA report said.

The company has also lobbied the local government in Shenzhen, where its factories are located, to pass a law extending unemployment insurance to migrant workers from 2013.

But potentially more expensive reforms, such as wages, and capping work hours at 49 per week as per Chinese law, have not yet been implemented. The report said Foxconn has managed to get work hours below 60 per week.

Foxconn, which makes the iPhones and iPads designed and sold by US-based Apple, came under scrutiny after a spate of 14 employee suicides in 2010. A May 2011 explosion at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu, China, killed four and was blamed on poor ventilation of combustible aluminum dust from the polishing process of iPad casings.

The incidents prompted criticisms from labour groups against both Foxconn and Apple, leading to the companies agreeing to the FLA inspection this year.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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