Apple supplier Foxconn still struggles to limit working hours, labor group says

Foxconn had wanted to limit working hours at its factories to 49 hours per week

Foxconn Technology Group has come up short in trying to limit the overtime hours of its workers in China, but still made progress in improving the working conditions at three of its factories that make products for Apple, a labor group said Thursday.

The iPhone manufacturer has completed nearly all the goals in its plan to improve conditions at the three factories, according to a recent audit from the Fair Labor Association. But the manufacturing giant is struggling to cap workers' overtime to the Chinese legal limit of 49 hours per week.

Workers at the three factories located in Shenzhen and Chengdu are instead generally working less than 60 hours per week, meeting the FLA's own code on labor standards. Only for a seven-week period at one facility did working hours exceed 60 hours.

The plan to meet the 49 hours per week limit was an ambitious goal Foxconn set out to achieve, starting last year. Both Foxconn and its major client Apple had just faced harsh criticism from the public after The New York Times published a report describing poor working conditions at the factories.

In response, Apple invited the FLA to audit three of Foxconn's factories in China, resulting in a long list of "action items" to improve working conditions at the facilities. The three factories employed about 180,000 workers at the time.

Changes made at the factories include introducing more frequent breaks for workers, updating equipment and safety policies, and creating channels so that employees could anonymously voice grievances to management.

But the move to cap working hours was seen as a difficult measure to implement, according to labor experts. Foxconn relies on overtime to complete large orders for its clients, especially during peak manufacturing seasons. In addition, the workers themselves often wish to log longer hours in order to earn more wages.

FLA's most recent audit is its final report on the three Foxconn factories after starting the investigations over a year ago. The group said Foxconn's compliance with the FLA's own standard on working hours was a "significant step in the right direction."

In response to the FLA's audit, Foxconn said on Thursday the report demonstrates the "substantial overall progress" the company has made in its plan to improve the working conditions. "However, we recognize that there is more to be done, and that we must continue to sustain this progress and further enhance our operations," the company added.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

FLA's audits only cover one part of Foxconn's work force in China. The company employs over 1 million workers at several different factories in country, and also manufactures products for Sony, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Electronics manufacturingAppleFoxconn Technology GroupHealth and safetyenvironment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?