Foxconn draws flak from Chinese trade union for overworking employees

Foxconn continually violates China's labor laws on overtime, a Chinese official trade union said on Monday

Foxconn Technology Group, a key Apple supplier, is setting a bad example for industry by overworking its staff, according to a Chinese trade union.

The Taiwanese manufacturing giant has already received heaps of criticism, following a series of employee suicides back in 2010 that gave Foxconn and Apple a PR black eye. Although Foxconn has worked to improve conditions at its Chinese factories, the country's official trade union still isn't satisfied with the progress.

Foxconn is among the manufacturers that continually violate local laws on overtime hours, the All China Federation of Trade Unions said during a news conference Monday.

In Foxconn's case, the working hours are so long that employees suffer from depression and other mental problems, which could lead to death by suicide or exhaustion, said Guo Jun, an official with the trade union.

The trade union wants to correct the problems, but some areas of China are still focused on economic development, at the expense of treating workers fairly.

"Many industries could learn from Foxconn, and decide to overwork their employees, in order to achieve greater profits," Guo warned. If the offending companies aren't punished, then the violations will only continue, he added.

It's unclear if the trade union, controlled by China's Communist Party, will do much to change the situation. Worker mistreatment and labor problems have persisted across the Chinese manufacturing industry for years, according to watchdog groups.

But on Wednesday, Foxconn responded to the trade union's claims and defended its labor policies.

Manufacturers including Foxconn face the dilemma of appeasing employees who want to earn more, while also abiding by local regulations on overtime, it said in an email.

To address the problem, Foxconn has been raising wages, while strictly requiring that employees rest one day each week. In addition, its been using more automation in its manufacturing processes, to relieve workers of "dull and repetitive" duties.

Numerous experts and government officials have investigated Foxconn, and worked to resolve the problems, the company said, adding that "Guo Jun has never visited any Foxconn campus before."

As part of its pledge to improve factory conditions, Foxconn has worked with the U.S.-based Fair Labor Association to correct any labor violations, although long overtime hours continues to be a problem. Chinese law demands that factories keep an employee's work week under 49 hours, but audits have shown Foxconn struggling to meet that goal.

"We admit we are still far from perfect," Foxconn said. "But we have always been making the effort."

Foxconn employs over 1 million workers in mainland China, and in addition to Apple, it also builds products for Amazon.com, Microsoft, Sony and others.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

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

Tags Electronics manufacturingAppleHealth and safetyAll China Federation of Trade UnionsFoxconn Technology Groupenvironment

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

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.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?