Sunday, 17 June, 2018

Foxconn to investigate Amazon factory working conditions after damning report

GettyImages-101581741 Amazon Factories in China Unsafe for Workers: Report
Nellie Chapman | 12 June, 2018, 20:23

Foxconn the Taiwan-based contract manufacturer announced on Sunday that it was investigating one of its plants in China where devices are made for Amazon.com, after a watchdog group in the USA criticized what it called harsh labor conditions at the plant.

This is, of course, not the first time labor issues at Foxconn, one of the largest electronic OEMs in the world and the main supplier of Apple's iPhones, have been scrutinized. That cash, though, is claimed to come at the cost of its workforce, according to a report by advocacy group China Labour Watch.

The workers that make Amazon's Echo and Kindles are hugely overwork and underpaid.

According to the report, workers at FoxConn's Hengyang factory earned an average monthly wage that was roughly half of what other workers in the city made in 2017.

Foxconn says via an exchange filing it has begun its own internal investigation. However, Chinese law dictates a limit to how many dispatch workers a factory can have.

Amazon responded to the report in an emailed statement that clarified that the company had already conducted an inspection of this factory in March. Many workers were also required to work 14 days straight without a day off - all for a wage of about £1.70 per hour. These workers often face 60-hour work weeks and are pushed to the point of exhaustion, reported The Guardian.

"Other major issues at the factory include inadequate fire safety in the dormitory area, lack of sufficient protective equipment, absence of a functioning labor union at the factory, and strict management who subject workers to verbal abuse", said the report.

"We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn Hengyang detailing their plan to remediate the issues identified, and we are conducting regular assessments".

In light of these allegations, Amazon has said that it completed an internal audit of the factory, and found "two issues of concern".

A United States watchdog has accused a Chinese-based Amazon factory used to manufacture Kindle e-readers of harsh working conditions, sparking an official investigation.

Kara Hartnett Hurst, Amazon's head of worldwide sustainability, wrote back saying: "Amazon recognizes our responsibility to ensure the well-being of factory workers manufacturing products for Amazon". Amazon regularly assesses suppliers, using independent auditors as appropriate, to monitor continued compliance and improvement.

In a statement released earlier Foxconn said that it works diligently to comply with all the relevant regulations and laws where it has operations and it conducts audits on a regular basis.