Fair Labor Association releases Foxconn report; looks to correct overtime, safety issues

After a thorough, independent investigation found significant issues with working conditions at three factories in China operated by Apple’s major supplier Foxconn, the Fair Labor Association secured groundbreaking commitments that will reduce working hours to legal limits while protecting pay, improve health and safety conditions, establish a genuine voice for workers, and will monitor on an ongoing basis to verify compliance. The nearly month-long investigation found excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation; several health and safety risks; and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers.

“The Fair Labor Association gave Apple’s largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff hours investigating three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers. Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we will verify progress and report publicly,” said Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, a coalition of universities, non-profit organizations and businesses committed to improving the health, safety, fair treatment and respect of workers worldwide, in a statement.

FLA’s investigation found that within the last 12 months, all three factories exceeded both the FLA Code standard of 60 hours per week (regular plus overtime) and the Chinese legal limits of 40 hours per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month. During peak production periods, the average number of hours worked per week exceeded 60 hours per worker. There were periods in which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required 24 hours off. Full worker survey data is available at www.fairlabor.org/affiliate/apple.

Foxconn has committed to bring its factories into full compliance with Chinese legal limits and FLA standards on working hours by July 2013, according to its remediation plan in FLA’s report. The supplier will bring working hours in line with the legal limit of 49 hours per week, including overtime. This means a reduction in monthly overtime hours from 80 to 36, and would be a significant improvement given that most of the technology sector is struggling to address excessive overtime.

More importantly, while employees will work fewer hours, Foxconn has agreed to develop a compensation package that protects workers from losing income due to reduced overtime. In order to maintain capacity while reducing workers’ hours, Foxconn committed to increase its workforce significantly as it builds additional housing and canteen capacity.

FLA also discovered that 14 percent of workers may not receive fair compensation for unscheduled overtime. The assessment found that unscheduled overtime was only paid in 30-minute increments. This means, for example, that 29 minutes of overtime work results in no pay and 58 minutes results in only one unit of overtime pay. Foxconn committed to pay workers fairly for all overtime as well as work-related meetings outside of regular working hours. In addition, FLA secured agreement from Foxconn and Apple to retroactively pay any worker due unpaid overtime. The companies are currently conducting an audit to determine the payments due to workers.

According to FLA’s worker survey, 64 percent of employees say that compensation does not meet their basic needs. FLA will conduct a cost of living study in Shenzhen and Chengdu to assist Foxconn in determining whether worker salaries meet FLA requirements for basic needs, as well as discretionary income.

FLA observed other serious issues in areas such as health and safety, worker integration and communication, treatment of interns, and China’s social security enrollment, among others.

A considerable number of workers feel concerned about the protection of their health and safety. More than 43 percent of the workers report that they have experienced or witnessed an accident. These accidents range from hand injuries to factory vehicle accidents. Foxconn has committed to be more inclusive of workers in health and safety monitoring and decisions.

Until now, Foxconn only recorded accidents that resulted in a production stoppage. Beginning immediately, Foxconn committed to require supervisors and workers to report all accidents resulting in an injury.

Many of Foxconn’s health and safety problems, including blocked exits, lack of or faulty personal protective equipment and missing permits, were immediately corrected during the course of the investigation. FLA found that, one year after the Chengdu explosion, Foxconn had improved operating procedures, measurement, and documentation to reduce risks related to aluminum dust where Apple products are made.

The assessment also found that the union at Foxconn is dominated by management representatives and does not provide true worker representation. In keeping with local laws, Foxconn has agreed to ensure elections of worker representatives without management interference.

FLA also secured agreement by Foxconn to find alternative ways to address low enrollment in social security benefit programs and to adapt its internship program to ensure that interns enjoy the protections necessary for a productive, healthy and safe educational experience.

“If implemented, these commitments will significantly improve the lives of more than 1.2 million Foxconn employees and set a new standard for Chinese factories,” van Heerden said.

Following the FLA’s methodology, independent assessors logged more than 3,000 staff hours inside the factories. They evaluated conditions based on visual observation and review of policies, procedures and documentation (payroll and time records, production schedules, employee records); interviewed hundreds of Foxconn workers and managers both on- and off-site; and conducted an anonymous worker perception survey of 35,500 randomly-selected Foxconn workers – providing an in-depth understanding of working conditions, particularly during peak production of Apple products.

Under FLA rules, its assessors have unfettered access to conduct thorough investigations of Apple suppliers. This investigation of three Foxconn factories at Guanlan, Longhua, and Chengdu, in China is the beginning of FLA’s in-depth, thorough examination of the entire operation to assess whether workers’ rights and labor standards are being respected throughout Apple’s supply chain.

“Joining the Fair Labor Association is voluntary. But once a company joins, FLA sets the rules of investigations and has full access to any supplier, owns the information collected and publishes its findings and recommendations for remedial action,” van Heerden said.

In addition to follow up studies related to this first investigation, FLA will verify Apple’s and Foxconn’s implementation of their remediation plans and will report publicly on progress.

A full copy of the report is available at <a href="http://www.fairlabor.org/report/foxconn-investigation-report" target="_blank"www.fairlabor.org/report/foxconn-investigation-report.

Source: Fair Labor Association

36 Comments

  1. “There were periods in which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required 24 hours off.”

    Hmm. Sounds like we better start investigating Disney, too – there are lots of people there who work upwards of 14 days in a row without having 24 hours off. And I’ll bet it’s the same in many other industries here in America as well.

    1. I was glad to work as many hours as possible when I came to the USA. I was able to work two jobs, plus overtime. I was also able to work hard and save a lot of money to enable my wife and children to come here. Only in America (in the past). Now the regulations have taken away the ability to achieve many things. I blame the government and the unions – especially the unions.

      Happily retired with my stash – You can ask an Obama follower what a ‘stash’ is.

          1. Actually, about 10% – less than the national average. Unless you want to try and claim that it’s really 70% and the US Dept. of Labor is publishing false figures to hide the fact that unionized workers actually control the government and the economy.

        1. It’s not the unions, it’s the public worker’s unions : federal,state,county and city employee’s unions. I support unions and was a union member but that was the private sector. Tax payer supported jobs should not be controlled by unions. Why the hell do you think cities,counties and states are going broke? It’s not the electrician’s union it’s the government employee’s unions that take and take and want more. They buy the politicians and therefore they get what they want. You should make whatever you can bargain for in the private work sector but on my tax dollar? Hell no!

          1. It is the unions in all sectors. No one wants to produce anything in the US anymore because of the UNIONS of all flavors and the insane LIBTARD government regulations, fees, red tape, OSHA, EPA, etc. All a massive scam to steal our hard earned private property. SCUM SUCKING LEACHES!!!!!!!

  2. I await the New York Times/ABC News investigation of conditions in WalMart suppliers, Dell suppliers, et al, and in the maquiladoras along the Mexican border, including studies of the cost of living relative to wages.

    After they’ve finished that, they can report on farm workers in Canada and the United States.

    Slime.

    1. They only haul that many hours ’cause of bein’ forced to do a double nickel even when deadheading, what with the FCC crackin’ down on swindle sheets. Also with the coffin dodgers cloggin’ up the granny lane.

      1. Are you nuts? Even in CA where the stste limlt is 55 for trucks and towing they drive around 65. I travel a lot in western states. I have been passed many times by truckers doing 75 to 80. Tell me where you see them doing double nickels, it sure not NV, UT, ID, OR, WA, AZ, WY or NM

  3. If I were one of those Foxconn workers that will now work less overtime, I would be out with the rest of the workforce with placards that read, “Thank you for reducing my overtime hours you STUPID white culture trash press of the USA. Now I have less to send less back to by family. Fuck off and don’t do me NO FAVOURS NO MORE. Thanks.”

      1. Yes I have read it…..

        “Foxconn will have to hire and train a significant number of extra workers, build accomodation for them, and develop a compensation package that addresses the income lost through reduced hours.”

        This is what my friend from Foxconn has to day to you.

        “I said don’t DO ME NO FAVOURS, FOOL. Again we don’t need your change.org BS. I don’t think “Compensating for reduced hours” is what you think it means. What it means is we will be paid more, yes, but not as much as if I had just worked the extra overtime rate. Plus I now have to pay for my accommodation that I did not have to before, plus everything is now pay as you go when so much used to be free. Food is more, accommodation is more, facilities are more, etc. There are so many repercussions to your meddling that you don’t even know about. We don’t want your white UNION culture that sucked the life out of your manufacturing, we don’t need your change.org philosophy, we don’t want COMPENSATED OVERTIME, We want REAL OVERTIME”.

    1. Apple and Cook have been too touchy feely about this. They’ve been rolled, and the media has them on the run.

      Even now, the slime are misrepresenting the issue.

      1. NAH! You need to do your homework too!

        ALL of this was ongoing BEFORE the NYTimes ad nauseam started pointlessly hammering on Apple. Apple and Cook are on the run from NO ONE. This is how Apple does business well.

        AND! If you pay attention to how REAL capitalism works, as opposed to the FAIL version of our current age, you’d know that this entire process is INEVITABLE. It is how the employees (including contractors) AND employers AND customers maintain RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER. With no respect you have no capitalism. Respect required.
        R E S P E C T

        Cue Aretha Franklin!

  4. Look at what was accomplished, by Apple, with NO assistance from leftist loony WatchDog anyone!

    Yes that’s right kids! All of this was ongoing without any ranting by anyone about Apple. Nope! None of your loon ranting did anything at all! Imagine how much stress you’d have saved yourself IF YOU’D DONE YOUR HOMEWORK before openning your ignorant mouths.

    *DING* Know what you’re talking about, THEN share your INFORMED opinion. <- I like that idea! 😀

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