Foxconn Cuts Hours, Workers Not Happy

Foxconn, the company that builds electronic devices including Apple’s iPad and iPhone, has cut back on overtime hours in response to worker’s rights concerns, although the company’s employees don’t seem to be happy with the change.

Foxconn promised to raise wages so its factory workers wouldn’t see a drop in pay, but employees aren’t convinced they’ll still make as much money. Apple is supporting Foxconn’s plan to cut back on the amount of overtime factory workers spend on assembly lines.

Foxconn reduces shift length after working conditions auditFoxconn reduces shift length after working conditions audit

“We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this,” Foxconn factory worker Chen Yamie told Reuters. “We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little.”

Many of Foxconn’s employees come from economically depressed parts of China and rely on their wages to support families and the thought of losing working hours and the accompanying pay has them concerned. Employees also claim they prefer working for Foxconn because conditions are better than at other factories.

While Foxconn’s own employees aren’t excited about the changes, human rights groups should see the working hours reduction as a good sign.

The Fair Labor Association announced this week that it’s independent month-long audit of Foxconn’s factories that build products for Apple have “significant issues.” Foxconn’s commitment to lower hours without loss of pay is one of the steps the company is taking to improve working conditions following the audit results.

The company has also committed to reporting all worker accidents instead of only the incidents that stop production, paying all overtime, and offering actual worker representation in its unions. “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,” commented Fair Labor Association President and CEO Auret van Heerden.