As Apple’s success with the iPhone and iPad continues to reach new heights, so too does the amount of scrutiny the company experiences over working conditions at Foxconn, the company that manufactures a slew of Apple products along with devices from other companies such as Amazon and Dell.
Over the past few months, working conditions at Foxconn have received an avalanche of attention as a result of an NPR report that incorporated the observations of Mike Daisey, the now disgraced theater maven who admitted to making up stories about his trip to China in order to sensationalize what truly goes on at Foxconn.
That notwithstanding, Apple has taken a pro-active approach to working conditions at the factories responsible for churning out Apple products. That said, the Fair Labor Association recently audited three Foxconn plants and came to an agreement with them regarding employee salaries and working hours. Specifically, the number of overtime hours workers can work every week has been cut down.
And illustrating the economic factors that underly all of these discussions, not every Foxconn employee is happy about the change.
Foxconn’s concessions, including cutting overtime for its 1.2 million mainland Chinese workers while promising compensation that protects them against losing income, we re backed by Apple, which has faced criticism and media scrutiny for worker safety lapses and for using relatively low-paid employees to make high-cost phones, computers and other gadgets.
But at the Foxconn factory gates, many workers seemed unconvinced that their pay wouldn’t be cut along with their hours. For some Chinese factory workers – who make much of their income from long hours of overtime – the idea of less work for the same pay could take getting used to.
“We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money,” said Wu, a 23-year-old employee from Hunan province in south China.
Foxconn said it will reduce working hours to 49 per week, including overtime.