Foxconn: Apple Will Split Cost of Improving Worker Conditions

Foxconn and Apple Improve Working ConditionsImage via Shutterstock.

Apple supplier Foxconn’s CEO revealed Thursday that Apple will assist the company financially in its recent steps to improve working conditions in its production facilities, Reuters reported. The joint plan by the two partner companies aims to improve public perception as well as aid the welfare of Foxconn’s million-strong workforce. 

The news of Apple’s role in Foxconn’s efforts to improve working conditions was revealed by Foxconn CEO Terry Gou during the groundbreaking ceremony of the company’s Shanghai headquarters.

“We’ve discovered that this [improving factory conditions] is not a cost. It is a competitive strength,” Mr. Gou told reporters, adding, “I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.” 

Neither Mr. Gou nor Apple have provided any further details on the arrangement, so it is unclear exactly how much the plan to improve working conditions will cost and what portion of that cost each company will pay.

Foxconn and, by association, Apple, drew the attention of the media and workers’ rights associations earlier this year for supposed violations of minimum working conditions in its factories brought to light by a segment of This American Life. 

The segment was later retracted by the program after it was discovered that its author, monologist Mike Daisey, had embellished and fabricated parts of the story.

However, a subsequent review of Foxconn’s Apple factories by the Fair Labor Association found that “significant issues” with working conditions were indeed present. Foxconn and Apple responded by pledging to cut working hours and limit overtime, a move that proved unpopular among some of the company’s employees.

Although both Foxconn and Apple responded publicly to the issue, some analysts suggested that further action was required in order to avoid a public backlash.