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Foxconn vows to reduce hours at factories

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

08:43, March 31, 2012

Foxconn, the largest supplier of Apple Inc, said on Friday that it will remedy its workplace abuses after a US labor auditor commissioned by Apple inspected Foxconn's three plants in China.

A report, filed by the nonprofit Fair Labor Association and released on Thursday, found that Foxconn employees work 56 hours a week on average - which is more than the 40 regular hours a week and 36 hours of overtime a month that they are allowed under Chinese law.

In some cases, the report found that employees had worked more than seven days in a row without taking a 24-hour break, as they are required to. And many were not properly paid for working overtime, it said.

In February and March, the Fair Labor Association surveyed more than 35,000 workers in three Foxconn factories, two of which are in the coastal manufacturing hub of Shenzhen and the third is in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. The employees at those places have an average age of 23 and less than 6 percent of them are between the ages of 16 and 18.

The report also found that a large number of the workers do not live in crowded dormitories and that nearly 48 percent of them did not think the factories' canteens were clean and hygienic.

Many of the employees also said they would like to work more hours and make more money. Asked if their salaries were enough to meet their basic needs, 64.3 percent said "no", according to the report.

The employees' average monthly salary at the Chengdu plant was 2,250 yuan ($360). In Shenzhen plants in general, the average is 2,800 yuan.

The Fair Labor Association said Foxconn has agreed to bring its factory conditions both into full compliance with Chinese law and with the association's standards governing working hours by July next year.

Foxconn will have to hire and train a significant number of additional workers, build accommodation for them, and devise a means of compensating them for the income they lose through a reduction in their hours, the association said.

"We welcome the results of the audit by the (Fair Labor Association) report and Foxconn has participated fully and openly in this review," Foxconn said in a statement.

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