Apple Supplier Promises to Raise Employee Wages 25%
Foxconn Technology, the major international electronics manufacturer based in Chengdu, China, has recently revealed that it will increase employee wages by as much as 25 per cent.
The news comes as Foxconn and its many clients, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft, Samsung and Apple, face increasing pressure from the international media for some of the ways workers at Foxconn plants appear to be treated.
Several weeks ago, after an eye-opening report by US media outlet CNN, testimonials from Foxconn workers went global.
Worker Accounts for Brutal 60 Hour Work Week, Low Pay
In one case, an 18-year-old employee known only by the pseudonym 'Miss Chen' revealed that she worked an average of 60 hours per week building Apple iPads.
She claimed never to have seen any of the completed products she was building.
'Miss Chen' emphasized the grueling nature of her work at Foxconn, and stated that some of the workers were often treated like "animals".
Foxconn supplies roughly half of all of the world's electronics.
Foxconn Has Long History of Mistreating Workers
This was not the first word of allegedly miserable conditions at Foxconn facilities.
For years, labor rights groups have documented various Foxconn worker abuses, some of which were so severe that they reportedly prompted workers to take their own lives. (Source: nytimes.com)
Although its clients include many household names, the firm that drew the most negative attention was Apple, whose slick image didn't quite jibe with the Chengdu testimonials.
Apple Proceeding with Independent Audit
Apple says it immediately began to look into the situation.
Last week the Cupertino-based giant announced that it would conduct an independent audit of its suppliers' factories, working through the non-profit Fair Labor Association (FLA).
According to Apple, the FLA's findings, once finalized, will be made public.
In the meantime, Bloomberg is reporting that at least one auditor for the Fair Trade Association has recently said they have already discovered "tons of issues" at Foxconn facilities. (Source: bloomberg.com)
As for Foxconn, it's responding to this international pressure with the announcement that it plans to increase worker salaries between 16 and 25 per cent.
Foxconn says it will, at the same time, reduce the number of overtime hours required of its workers. As a result, most Foxconn employees should continue to take home the same wage while working fewer hours each week.
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