Foxconn and Apple Make Strides Towards Improving Work Hours, But Still Violate Chinese Limits

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Apr 12, 2001
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The Fair Labor Association has published a final status report on the working conditions at Apple supplier Foxconn, finding that Foxconn successfully reduced working hours to comply with the Fair Labor Association's standard 60 hour work week, but failed to meet the Chinese legal limit of 49 hours per week and at times, exceeded the legal limit of 36 hours of overtime per month.

Today's report follows an initial audit that took place in February of 2012 and a later agreement in March where Foxconn agreed to examine worker pay and implement stricter control over working hours while also improving working conditions.

Over the course of 2013, the Fair Labor Association visited three Foxconn facilities in Longhua, Guanlan, and Chengdu, with Foxconn providing full cooperation and unrestricted access to both facilities and workers during the verification process. Along with improving working hours, Foxconn also made moves to install additional exits and bathroom facilities.
FLA assessors verified that workers at the Longhua and Chengdu facilities worked no more than 60 hours every week between March and October; the same was true in the Guanlan facility with the exception of seven weeks during this period when working hours exceeded 60 hours. The assessment found that between March and October 2013, on average more than half of the workforce had worked beyond the Chinese legal limit of 36 overtime hours per month in all three facilities.

FLA assessors found that no interns had been engaged at any of the three facilities since the January 2013 verification visits and that the internship programs had been concluded at all three facilities. Assessors also verified that construction of additional exits and toilets was underway at the three facilities, with completion slated for the end of the year.
The Fair Labor Association expects Foxconn to continue to monitor its employee working hours to ensure compliance with the 60 hour work week while also making progress towards reaching a 49 hour work week. While the FLA will no longer be monitoring Foxconn, Apple is required to continue monitoring labor compliance, reporting back to the FLA each year.

Apple tracks working hours for its supply chain employees and also maintains a Supplier Responsibility section on its website, publishing yearly reports. The company has pledged to prevent excessive work hours, unethical hiring policies, and the hiring of underage workers at the factories that supply Apple with parts.

Throughout the year, various Apple suppliers have been continually accused of poor working conditions. In July, Pegatron was accused of having poor living conditions, and unethically holding worker pay. Pegatron was further accused of labor violations earlier this week, following the death of a fifteen-year-old factory worker in October.

Along with working with the Fair Labor Association to ensure safe working practices at factories, Apple also formed an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program in July, tasked with studying Apple policies and conducting research on labor standards in Apple's supply chain.

Apple takes violations to its policies seriously, and in January, the company dropped Pingzhou Electronics as a supplier after it was found to be hiring multiple underage workers.

Article Link: Foxconn and Apple Make Strides Towards Improving Work Hours, But Still Violate Chinese Limits
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,034
24,711
Just curious, does Foxconn only manufacture Apple products? Or, is the Fair Labor Association only tracking conditions at sites that produce Apple products?
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,835
1,783
Western US
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
 

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
809
850
Just curious, does Foxconn only manufacture Apple products? Or, is the Fair Labor Association only tracking conditions at sites that produce Apple products?
No other companies give a ****. They're not under the microscope like Apple.

This is all very ridiculous. These people's lives are a joke to multinational corporations. Apple's only dealing with the FLA because they feel pressured into looking like they care. This isn't how people's lives improve, it's how companies please their shareholders. Consumers, time and time again, have proven they don't give a rats *** about any of this.

So drop it. And where's my ******* Goldpagne iPhone? Pedal faster minions!!! :cool:
 

mabhatter

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
838
198
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
The "absolute" limit is 60 hours. Although plenty of good ole USA UNION shops ROUTINELY work those kind of hours all the time. And their companies still go bankrupt from "poor productivity". It's funny that a THIRD WORLD country at least has that law on the books and the USA don't...

But part of that is to get you to buy what the Union is selling... If the LAW mandated fair conditions for everybody we wouldn't NEED unions here either.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,195
Don't forget who asked the Fair Labor Association to investigate in the first place: Apple. And they started their supplier responsibility audits--and reporting those findings in public rather than sweeping them under the rug--before the big media storm was stirred up.

No other electronics maker has taken such measures. Apple is the first to call in the FLA.

Apple has been unable to fix China's problems completely and instantly; only partially and slowly. But it's far more than Apple's competition does.
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,690
3,381
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
The article is a bit short on details what exactly these numbers mean. A reasonable guess:

1. People should never work more than 60 hours in a single week.
2. People should never work more than 36 hours overtime in a single month.
3. People should not be employed to work more than 49 hours per week as a long term average.

Missing detail is: What is the baseline for "overtime per month"? Is it 40 hours per week or more?
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,907
58
Wisconsin
How would you like it if some outside Fair Labor Association tried to put a limit on the number of hours you could work when you're trying to earn enough to support your whole family?
 

tbrinkma

macrumors 68000
Apr 24, 2006
1,651
93
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
Yep. People latch onto the "more hours than legally allowed" part, and assume that that means the workers are being horrifically overworked*, while completely missing out on the fact that the legal limit in question is one that doesn't even exist in the US. :(

* You can argue one way or another whether the workers are being overworked, but you should be aware that by the same metric, many US workers are overworked because there *is* no legally imposed limit on hours worked here unless you happen to be under the age of 16.
 

OLDCODGER

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2011
922
375
Lucky Country
There should be maximum enforced hours. Beyond that, it should be between employer and employee.

No-one should have the right to artificially limit a person's earning powers.
 

Jbenn425

macrumors regular
Nov 16, 2013
164
0
New Jersey
How would you like it if some outside Fair Labor Association tried to put a limit on the number of hours you could work when you're trying to earn enough to support your whole family?
Maybe the Fair Labor Association should mandate a higher pay so you don't have to work 60 hours a week to make ends meat. Especially in a country with universal healthcare where the government pays for it if you have a health problem due to your absurd work hours.
 

Spinland

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2011
320
1
Utica, NY, USA
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
I'm a freelancer so haven't experienced the conditions at big VFX or game development houses, but my impression was those workers sometimes put in a lot more hours than that, especially at crunch time.
 

MagnusVonMagnum

macrumors 603
Jun 18, 2007
5,174
1,411
How would you like it if some outside Fair Labor Association tried to put a limit on the number of hours you could work when you're trying to earn enough to support your whole family?
The law should limit the number of hours you're forced to work (typically 60 hours where I work and overtime is paid after 8 hours or 40 for the week which 1.5x pay normally and 2x on Christmas) and mandate overtime pay beyond 40 hours. This is all standard fair for union labor. Good labor laws are nice, but the idea that unions aren't needed sounds like talk from people that have not worked in a craft where there are unions. Management can and WILL try to violate the contract it signed all the time. Without a union, there wouldn't even be a contract, let alone enforcement of the rules they agreed to by binding arbitration. Unions have a lot of waste and worthless representatives to be sure, but without them, I know I wouldn't be working where I am since the job wouldn't be paying half as much. Companies don't give out of the generosity of their hearts, after all. You either stand united against them for fair wages and working conditions or you bend over and get screwed and that's a fact. Of course, there are those out there that would like you to believe otherwise, but they're generally the very people trying to screw you (i.e. big business) for their own profits.
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2003
1,382
1,108
Somewhere in the USA
49 hours per week? Wow, that seems kind of ridiculously low. I would have "violated" that hundreds of times in my own career.
If you think working 49 hours a week is low, then I'm sorry to say that you are being exploited, too. The 40-hour work week in the US was established to protect the health and well-being of workers. Working 40 hours a week has become a joke now in the US, but working more doesn't mean more productivity. You don't have to work more to be productive, and France is actually more productive than the US is while working fewer hours a week.

Yep. People latch onto the "more hours than legally allowed" part, and assume that that means the workers are being horrifically overworked*, while completely missing out on the fact that the legal limit in question is one that doesn't even exist in the US. :(

* You can argue one way or another whether the workers are being overworked, but you should be aware that by the same metric, many US workers are overworked because there *is* no legally imposed limit on hours worked here unless you happen to be under the age of 16.
Yes, American workers are largely overworked. It's frustrating when people say "I work more than 40 hours, so what are they complaining about?" Americans are actually working more and getting more productive but not getting anything out of it. People should be calling for all workers, including themselves, to work less. If you're working more than 40 hours a week, you should be complaining, too.

In many cases, by reducing your hours you could ideally keep your standard of living while helping someone else who is unemployed. I know in reality this doesn't always work, but that's because there aren't laws forcing companies to stop exploiting workers by having them work 50, 60 hours a week in spite of the gains in productivity and employment that would result from having a less tired and more dedicated workforce.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,779
1,350
Georgia
I don't understand why these companies would want the workers working over 40 hours a week anyways. With all the people wanting jobs. I'd think it would make more sense to hire three people working 40 hours a week instead of two at 60. Since productivity and quality go down when overworked.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,690
3,381
I don't understand why these companies would want the workers working over 40 hours a week anyways. With all the people wanting jobs. I'd think it would make more sense to hire three people working 40 hours a week instead of two at 60. Since productivity and quality go down when overworked.
It's quite common knowledge, and quite commonly ignored knowledge, that productivity goes down once you work over 40 hours a week. Two people, one working 40 hour weeks for six weeks and one working 60 hour weeks for six weeks will produce the some total work. 50% more hardship will have 0% additional results. But after these six weeks, one will be fresh and one will be exhausted.
 

tongxinshe

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2008
820
371
Maybe the Fair Labor Association should mandate a higher pay so you don't have to work 60 hours a week to make ends meat. Especially in a country with universal healthcare where the government pays for it if you have a health problem due to your absurd work hours.
The higher the hourly pay is, the more hours sure I would like to earn money at that rate each day.
 

djgamble

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2006
816
292
Maybe if the country enforced its own labor laws...
Exactly...
It must be so frustrating working in such a country! Apple is paying people well above the average wage in China without involving employees in crime/corruption (which is the norm amongst their government ranks who need their 'coffee money').

All Apple/Foxconn are trying to do is get their work done. Local companies are allowed to fleece people... for example a friend worked for a well known hotel without pay for 6 months. This was the 'trial' and they eventually gave her a job paying pittance.

Apple/Foxconn give Chinese employees amazing salaries and working conditions... western pay/working conditions in China! DOING IT HONESTLY TOO!! The only people making more are corrupt government officials (the type who you've never heard of but they go to Australia/America/Europe and buy $300 million dollar waterfront houses for their kids who are uni students). While the rest of the country struggle to make ends meet on ~$2000 a year (if they're lucky).

If China want to get serious about working conditions they need to:
1) Apply CONSISTENT rules... not harsh rules.
2) Enforce these rules CONSISTENTLY (not just when they see a political opportunity to run an expose on a foreign-owned company).
3) Stop involving themselves in bribes/corruption that make low-level government employees multi-millionaries, while everybody else gets paid ~$2000 a year (minus bribes they must pay to those on top of them).

What a farce!
 

OLDCODGER

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2011
922
375
Lucky Country
Agreed. And in addition to wages, I'm also sick and tired of the government telling me who I can and cannot hire. If I want to hire 10 year olds to work for me, that's MY RIGHT. Those 10 year olds have a choice whether to work for me for 50 cents an hour, no one is forcing them so technically it's not slave labor.
One of the few distinctions, with which I agree, is the difference between a child, under care, and a young adult, off to make his/her own way. Therefore, I would be against hiring a 10 y.o - in a society that can withstand caring for children until, say 15 y.o.

Due to parental irresponsibility, there are some places where, if a 10 y.o. doesn't work, they don't eat. Sad fact of a world where some cultures are still in the agrarian stage.
 

brinary001

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2012
917
1,041
Midwest, USA
As sad as this is, those of you pointing the gun at Apple are probably doing so on one of their products that you JUST HAD TO HAVE. Well thanks to these folks you have it. I write this on my iPad, yes, but I also realize Apple is a CORPORATION trying to MAKE A PROFIT. And that there's a billion people in China who need work. Sounds like a win-win to me. Maybe not an ethical one, but definitely a win-win.
 
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