Apple and Foxconn agree worker condition improvements

Apple and Foxconn have agreed to improve working conditions in Chinese factories after an independent investigation found a number of labour law violations.

Apple and Foxconn have agreed to improve working conditions in Chinese factories after an independent investigation found a number of labour law violations.

 
As part of a new agreement, Foxconn, which assembles iPhone and iPad devices for Apple, will cut illegal overtime, improve safety protocols, upgrade housing and amenities for workers, and hire thousands of new staff across the board to make up for lost work.
 
The maximum working hours will now be 49 per week, including overtime, down from the over 60 hours per week that an average Foxconn employee works when factories are at peak production. 
 
Wages will remain the same, but they have already been increased several times since a series of suicides caused scandal at the company and damaged the reputation of Apple. Some employees are not happy that wages are not rising, however, as low pay was the reason they worked insane hours in the first place.
 
The changes come as the Fair Labour Association (FLA) found that there were a number of violations of Chinese labour laws, including working too many hours and not getting paid for overtime work, a stark contrast to its initial hints that Foxconn conditions were good.
 
 Apple and Foxconn agree worker condition improvements
 
Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, visited Foxconn factories recently, an event widely seen as an attempt to show that Apple took this problem seriously. It appears that it was not just for show, however, and the company has managed to secure improvements at the Foxconn plants.
 
Some analysts believe that this change could rock the entire industry, with many companies relying on cheap labour in China and other countries in order to cut costs and maximise profits. These firms may be forced to follow suit, improving the working life of many people, but hitting the bottom line for these multi-billion dollar technology companies.
 
In fact, Apple is far from the only company employing Foxconn to manufacture and assemble electronic equipment. Amazon, Dell, HP, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba are among a large number of big names that outsource to the Chinese company's factories.
 
There is undoubtedly still room for improvement at Foxconn plants, but this decision will go a long way to improving working conditions and showing the industry that product innovation should not come at the price of ignoring the well-being of staff, no matter who they are or where they work.
 
Source: Reuters