"Serious and pressing noncompliances" found in Foxconn factories, Apple promises change

After a month-long investigation the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has found "serious and pressing noncompliances" in Foxconn factories, the main manufacturer for Apple electronics. The FLA interviewed 35,000 random Foxconn workers and concluded that there is excessive overtime and along with it overtime compensation issues, health and safety risks in plants where iPhones and iPads are made.

The average Foxconn worker has a 56-hour work week, 7 hours more than the 49 hours Chinese labor law allows. Overtime is the biggest concern as workers often don’t get their full pay. The reason for this is that overtime is broken down in 30-minute intervals, so if an employee only checks in for 29 minutes of overtime, he won’t get compensated. Additionally, half of the workers said they’ve been working for 11 days or more in a row.

To put working conditions in monetary perspective, the minimum wage in the Shenzhen province of China where Foxconn is located is around $220 (1,500 yuan) a month. Foxconn employees start with a monthly salary of nearly $265, which gets bumped up to $325 after their probation period ends.

The report will have serious consequences as Foxconn promises to lower overtime without decreasing pay, and this could bring prices up not only for Apple products but for consumer electronics in general. Samsung, Sony, Nintendo and Motorola all rely on Foxconn and will possibly hike prices as consequence, but this won’t happen overnight and for consumer the consequences won’t be immediately visible.

"Social responsibility has a cost. We are asking factories to make significant investment. We all have to be willing to share that cost," FLA CEO Auret van Heerden said in an interview for ABC News.

Apple and Foxconn in particular agreed to fix the overtime issues by hiring “tens of thousands” of new workers and cut overtime to the legal limits. The Chinese manufacturer will also build additional housing for the new employees.

We can only applaud Apple’s attempts to improve manufacturing conditions in its overseas plants, but the move to worker conditions transparency came only after employee suicides, incidents in plants, and after reports pressured the company. Activists from TheSumOfUs point out that Apple and Foxconn have been given time until July 2013 to change and that's too much given Cupertino's overnight hiring sprees when demand surges. 

"Foxconn will be breaking the law for the next 15 months. If Foxconn can't hire workers quick enough, Apple would just have to reduce demand. We shouldn't be buying things that are produced illegally," the activist organization said.

The full report is now available, so jump to the source below to read it and draw your own conclusions.



1. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011


2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I personally would like to know whether those health and safety issues extend to the plants making hardware for companies other than Apple. Furthermore, and more importantly, I'd like to know just what the hell they ARE.

4. Victor.H

Posts: 1104; Member since: May 27, 2011

You should check out the full report below for all the details, but in a nutshell the biggest problem seems to be overtime. Health hazards however are still there. They are vaguely described as aluminum dust, noise, bad thermal conditions and vibration. Now what's bad is that some young workers aged 16 or 17 (16 is the legal age to work in China) are working in such conditions. And yes, Foxconn supplies Sony, Motorola and others, so this definitely applies to other companies as well. The highlight is on Apple because they are the biggest and its overseas workers are related to suicide scandals, etc.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Separate plants make separate products, and conditions can vary widely from plant to plant. There is more demand for products from Apple so those workers might be driven harder than at other plants. My own mother worked in a small factory chain for a while; one plant was well lit with more modern machinery, the other was poorly lit with more manual equipment and not as favorable working conditions overall.

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

correct, each plant is run differently depending on the client and the contract. the contract dictates the worker's compensation, and the client has a say in how the factory is run (and in apple's case, built). Which, again, is why the Xbox factory across the street from the ipod factory pays the workers well more than in the ipod factory and doesnt have the suicide problem. It all sucks, some just suck more than others. Apple gets picked on not just because its their biggest client, but also because its among the lowest paid, highest suicided, and constant problems like factories blowing up.

15. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Exactly. I have seen the same thing at the company where I work... right here in the states. Pay scale, OT policy, etc are all different for us even though we work for the same company in the same occupation. Some facilities are unionized, some are not so even benefits can vary. It all hinges on what the terms, conditions, & obligations outlined at each facility are.

3. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Thing is Apple knew this your years and was happy to let the suicide count keep rising as long as they got their phones and they could keep gouging money from ifans. Only now it Will change because they have been caught out. Didnt a PA writer post a pro apple article here recently trying to claim all was good and rosy at after a 'random' foxconn visit said workers were all happy?!

5. Victor.H

Posts: 1104; Member since: May 27, 2011

Andro, we report different points of view and since we haven't been at Foxconn factories, we can't have all the facts. I believe you are speaking about this here post:http://www.phonearena.com/news/Working-conditions-at-Foxconn-way-above-average-workers-too-bored-though_id26946 It's actually based on the very same Fair Labor Association and words of its very same president quoted here. And yes, Apple is comparatively not much worse than other companies in treating overseas workers. Comparatively however is not good enough in this case.

7. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Agreed,comparatively is certainly not enough when it comes to alarming suicides rates,especially considering the unprecedented billions apple are making off it. Its about time for change now

8. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Thing is Apple knew this your years and was happy to let the suicide count keep rising as long as they got their phones and they could keep gouging money from ifans. Only now it Will change because they have been caught out." Agree!

9. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Repairing the New iPad sucks and it is part of Apple politics too. Also build quality doesn't look so good it is more cheaper than solid... You can watch or download video from here:http://goo.gl/Ojfmx

10. prometheus1983

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

What is most disgusting to me is that apple is the most profitable company in the world. the mark up on their products is insane. Humanity first, shareholders second. i guess apple disagrees.

12. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

there is no problem with making mad money. When it comes off the back of human rights violations and indentured slavery, then there is an issue with it.

13. prometheus1983

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

my point good sir.

14. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

i don't mind paying more for these workers.. but i disagree to pay more for the greedy executives..

16. Mandroid

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

LMAO atapple and the hiPster sheep that think they're such a great company. Apple promises change, huh? If by 'change' they mean the workers complaining will be drug out to the lobby kicking and screaming and shot in the head to set an example, then I believe they will change. Sounds like apple, and that's how they roll in China, no wonder apples headquarters is there.


Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Didn't someone do a televised report on this but was threatened to be sued by Foxconn so he said it was all made up and pulled his report. Now this seems to somewhat corroborate what he was saying yes or no.

18. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Did anyone bother to see that they said the prices might rise for their products. Instead of very lightly cuttings into theirs profits? It would be insignificant. What these workers make in a month is half of one ipad costs and a third of an iPhone. This must make you iFans proud. I bet there are some animal activists with Apple products! Oh the irony of putting animals before humans...

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