In what’s considered one of the most detailed labor investigations of a Chinese manufacturer, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has found excessive working times and various health and safety issues at the factories of Apple supplier Foxconn. Foxconn as vowed to rectify the violations and bring all factories up to spec by July 2013.
Caught in the midst of a media firestorm over labor practice complaints at its Chinese factories, Apple joined forces with the FLA in January seeking to resolve the issues. The FLA investigation is the first outside labor audit of Foxconn and relied in part on surveys of 35,500 workers that assemble iPhones and iPods at three Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu.
The investigation has uncovered more than 50 legal or code violations. One of the violations, which is commonly seen in Chinese factories, is a weekly work time exceeding the legal maximum of 49 hours in China. Not only do factories often ignore that limit, but workers often want to work more overtime to make more money.
Foxconn has agreed to reduce working hours to meet China’s legal limit of 40 hours per week and will reduce maximum monthly overtime from 80 to 36 hours. It will also increase wages to offset the losses workers would experience from less overtime hours.
Workplace safety violations have been especially scrutinized following the explosion at an iPad aluminum sanding factory that caused many injuries and the death of three employees. Over 43 percent of Foxconn workers surveyed said that they had witnessed or been part of an accident in the factory.