Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Hon Hai opens probe after labor group’s accusations


Electronics giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), known internationally as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), yesterday said that it had started an investigation after a labor group described illegal working conditions at one of its Chinese factories producing Kindles, tablets and smart speakers for Amazon.com Inc.

The investigation by US-based China Labor Watch found a series of problems, including inadequate worker training and overtime pay, excessive overtime hours beyond limits set by Chinese law and verbal abuse of workers by management.

“All workers are subject to long hours and low wages,” the report said, adding that workers at Foxconn’s plant in Hengyang in Hunan Province made an average of US$2.26 per hour.

Foxconn has long faced allegations of poor treatment of its hundreds of thousands of employees in China. It attracted widespread scrutiny after a spate of worker suicides at a plant in southern China making Apple products several years ago.

The labor group’s investigator worked on the factory’s night shift, brushing dust off Alexa Echo Dot speakers from 8pm until the small hours of the morning.

“After 6am, I fell asleep on the assembly line,” the investigator wrote, adding that the factory floor was hot and humid, and workers needed permission to leave their chairs to go to the bathroom.

When the shift ended, workers retreated to dormitories crowded with six bunks. Pictures showed primitive living conditions.

“Our company has already started a comprehensive investigation, if any irregularities are found, we will immediately improve and correct them, and safeguard our company’s corporate social responsibility,” Foxconn said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The investigation found that workers put in 100 hours of overtime per month during peak periods, vastly exceeding the 36 overtime hours allowed by Chinese labor law, and used intermediary labor companies to provide 40 percent of workers so that they were not directly employed by Foxconn.

The tactic allows factories to dodge some provisions of China’s labor laws, critics have said.

“Because I hadn’t slept enough, my face and eyes were all swollen,” the investigator wrote. “My hands never stopped moving.”

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