Ama­zon sup­plier un­der fire for con­di­tions in China

The Phnom Penh Post - - MARKBEUTSSINESS -

ELEC­TRON­ICS g i a nt F o x c o nn an­nounced on Mon­day it had started an in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter a labour group al­leged il­le­gal work­ing con­di­tions at one of its Chi­nese fac­to­ries pro­duc­ing Kin­dles, tablets and smart speak­ers for Ama­zon.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion by US-based China La­bor Watch found a se­ries of prob­lems in­clud­ing in­ad­e­quate worker train­ing and over­time pay, ex­ces­sive over­time hours beyond lim­its set by Chi­nese law, and ver­bal abuse of work- ers by man­age­ment.

“All work­ers are sub­ject to long hours and low wages,” the re­port said, not­ing work­ers at Fox­conn’s plant in the cen­tral China city of Hengyang made an av­er­age of $2.26 per hour.

Tai­wan-based Fox­conn has long faced al­le­ga­tions of poor treat­ment of its hun­dreds of thou­sands of em­ploy­ees in China. It at­tracted wide­spread scru­tiny af­ter a spate of worker sui­cides at a plant in south­ern China mak­ing Ap­ple prod- ucts sev­eral years ago.

China La­bor Watch’s in­ves­ti­ga­tor worked on the fac­tory’s night shift, brush­ing dust off Alexa Echo Dot speak­ers from 8pm un­til the small hours of the morn­ing.

“Af­ter 6am, I fell asleep on the as­sem­bly line,” the in­ves­ti­ga­tor wrote, not­ing the fac­tory floor was hot and hu­mid and work­ers needed per­mis­sion to leave their chairs for the bath­room.

When the shift finished, work­ers re­treated to dor­mi­to­ries crowded with six bunks. Pictures showed dire con­di­tions.

“Our com­pany has al­ready started a com­pre­hen­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion, if any ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties are found, we will im­me­di­ately im­prove and cor­rect them, and safe­guard our com­pany’s cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Fox­conn said in a fil­ing to the Tai­wan stock ex­change.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found work­ers put in 100 hours of over­time per month dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods, vastly ex­ceed­ing the 36 over­time hours al­lowed by Chi­nese labour law, and used mid­dle-men labour com­pa­nies to pro­vide 40 per­cent of work­ers so they were not di­rectly em­ployed by Fox­conn.

The tac­tic al­lows fac­to­ries to dodge some pro­vi­sions of China’s labour laws, crit­ics say.

“Be­cause I hadn’t slept enough, my face and eyes were all swollen,” the in­ves­ti­ga­tor wrote. “My hands never stopped mov­ing.”

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