On Thursday, 29 March 2012, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released a detailed report of their month-long investigation into Foxconn. The report contains violations-O-plenty of FLA labor standards and Chinese workplace law.
FLA auditors documented 50 different violations of FLA standards and Chinese workplace law. These violations included overtime hours of 80 per month compared to the 36 hours per month allowed by Chinese law. Foxconn has agreed to comply with FLA and Chinese standards concerning workers hours by July 2013.
“During peak production, the average number of hours worked per week at Foxconn factories exceeded both the FLA Code standard and Chinese legal limits. This was true in all three factories. Further, there were periods during which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required minimum 24-hour break,” — FLA Report.
Another part of this agreement is to establish a compensation package that will protect workers from lost income due to the reduced overtime hours. The FLA study spanned three of Foxconn’s factories. Guanlan has 73,004 workers, Longuha has 66,680 workers and Chengdu: 38,393 workers. Study included over 35,000 anonymous surveys to help gain insight into the working conditions.
Some notable findings from the survey included 64% of workers claiming that their wages did not meet their basic needs. Another 43% claimed that they had witnessed an onsite accident.
“Many of Foxconn’s health and safety violations, including blocked exits, lack of or faulty personal protective equipment, and missing permits have already been remedied. Additionally, Foxconn has agreed to change the system by which accidents are recorded. In the past, only those accidents that caused work stoppage were recorded as accidents. Moving forward, all accidents that result in an injury will be recorded and addressed,” — FLA Report
Foxconn has also agreed to improve worker and management relations and increasing interaction through committees and other union structures. The current system is reactive. It handles problems as they happen with little to no preventive measures or monitoring practices.
According to the report, some of the worst violations were committed at factories manufacturing Xboxes. Seems like Steve Ballmer has not visited one of Microsoft’s overseas manufacturing facilities for a long time.
Earlier, FLA said that working conditions provided by Apple were better than others, even if improvements were required. Chinese labor activist Li Quiang also said that.
The biggest question still remains that how Foxconn can take the risk of giving shabby treatment to workers in Communist country where labor rights are supreme and employers ill-treating their workers are likely invite harsh punishments for the same.