Fair Labor Group Finds Harsh Conditions At Apple Supplier Foxconn, Big Changes Promised

Chinese manufacturer Foxconn has promised big changes to its practices after a far-reaching inspection by the Fair Labor Association, The New York Times reports.

The FLA found widespread abuses at Foxconn’s supplier factories, which produce electronics for corporate tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and HP. In a survey of 35,000 Foxconn employees, roughly two-thirds said their wages did not “meet their basic needs.” The labor audit also found that some employees worked well beyond 60-hour weeks for days on end, in violation of Chinese law. And dorms (like the one above) were said to be overcrowded. In response to the abuses, Foxconn has said it will increase salaries and cap work hours.

The changes come following large-scale attention to Foxconn’s practices by the global press and business community, especially after several critical investigations into how Apple’s products are manufactured overseas. In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed these concerns, saying the company would allow the FLA to begin inspections at Foxconn. Cook stressed Apple’s commitment to fair workplace safety, compensation, and labor hours.

Despite promises, however, it appears Foxconn has been violating labor laws for some time. The audit found that Foxconn had pushed workers to work more than 60 hours per week–despite saying workers are “limited to no more than 60 hours per week”–and even provided employees with a “cheat sheet” on how to give false answers to auditors to avoid being caught for violations.

Foxconn now promises that by July of 2013, employees will not be allowed to work more than 49 hours per week. Let’s see if the manufacturer can keep its promises this time.

[Image: Flickr user yuan3000]AC