The usage of temporary workers at Foxconn’s plants have been an issue that has dogged the world’s largest contract manufacturer for many years now.
Following a report by a U.S. watchdog that working conditions at one of Foxconn’s factory in China, which makes devices for Amazon, was harsh, Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, stated it was investigating the matter.
In its 94-page report, China Labor Watch stated that inadequate training, low wages, excessive hours and over-reliance on “dispatch” were the systemic issues that it unearthed following a 9-month investigation into the workplaces practices at the Hengyang Foxconn plant in Hunan province, which makes Kindle readers and Echo Dot smart speakers for Amazon.com
“We are carrying out a full investigation of the areas raised by that report, and if found to be true, immediate actions will be taken to bring the operations into compliance with our Code of Conduct,” said Foxconn Technology Group in a statement.
Earlier in 2010, Foxconn, which also makes iPhones for Apple, came under intense pressure when there were a spate of suicides at its plants in China, following which it pledged to improve working conditions.
According to China Labor Watch, its investigation found that 40% of the workers at the plant were temporary or “dispatch” workers; this far exceeds the 10% limit allowable under Chinese law.
“They were underpaid. That’s illegal,” said Lu in reference to the payments made to temporary workers.
As per its report, dispatch workers earned $2.26 (14.5 yuan) per hour. Workers also put in more than 100 overtime hours per month during peak season, exceeding the 36 hours limit as declared in Chinese law. Many workers worked straight for fourteen consecutive days.
During its audit of the factory in March 2018, Amazon said it overtime and use of dispatch workers as “issues of concern.”
“We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn,” said Amazon in a statement while adding, it is monitoring Foxconn’s response and “compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved.”