China union: Foxconn faces management problems

13:17, November 04, 2010      

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Guo Jun, minister of Democratic Management at the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) said Foxconn violated laws, and the management system has serious problems, while talking about the series of suicide incidents at Foxconn.

As of May 26, 2010, there were 12 incidents where people jumped from buildings in Foxconn factories on the Chinese mainland, leaving 10 dead and two injured. Guo said the Foxconn case has caused much controversy.

According to the Shenzhen Institute of Contemporary Observation (ICO), in 2009 Foxconn employees' overtime hours totaled 117 hours per month — up to 140 hours for some.

China's labor law implemented in January 1, 2005 said workers should not extend working hours more than three hours per day and overtime should not exceed 36 hours per month.

"Working overtime more than 100 hours per month, is this not against the law?" Guo said. "If the employers consult with the employees and call it legal, then there will be no cases that violated the law."

Guo Jun said that Foxconn's problem is not just working hours or wages. The biggest problem lies in its corporate management. Foxconn adopts the Ford-style business management, which optimizes all aspects of production and maximizes efficiency. Its employees are like Charlie Chaplin in the film "Modern Times," and their freedom outside of working hours is not guaranteed.

In addition, Foxconn also has "quasi-military management" features.

"Under such circumstances, the staffs need to have what kind of attitude to withstand such pressure?" Guo said.

Guo pointed out Foxconn's problems. First of all is the responsibility of the enterprises, but the main responsibility should be with the government. He said that the government supervision does not adequately deal with the labor and capital problem, which makes many enterprises that want to take social responsibility — and even bear the legal responsibility — feel at a disadvantage.

Foxconn Technology Group is the world's largest professional manufacturer of electronics. It has factories in Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Chengdu and other places on the Chinese mainland.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is a mass organization of the working class formed voluntarily by the Chinese workers and staff members. While protecting the overall interests of the whole people, the ACFTU seeks to better voice workers' concerns, protect workers' specific interests, fulfill their social functions of protection, construction, participation and education in an all-round way, give prominence to the protective function of trade unions and unite with and mobilize the broad masses of workers to strive for the realization of the country's socialist modernization.

By Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online


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