Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over China labor conditions

Rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over China labor conditions

The 94-page report followed a nine-month investigation of working conditions at a factory owned by Foxconn - the electronics manufacturing behemoth that produces parts for tech names including Apple, Microsoft and Intel. A number of dispatch workers do not receive a copy of their labour contract.

The groups probed worker conditions at the factory where Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers are made.

The China Labor Watch report also says that, while working conditions were different for regular and dispatch workers, "all workers are subject to long hours and low wages".

Dispatch workers were paid 14.5 yuan per hour, equal to $2.26, said the report.

A U.S. watchdog group has criticized Amazon and contract manufacturer Foxconn over what it described as harsh working conditions at a China factory that makes Amazon's Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers, Reuters reports. During peak season, there was an instance of workers working 14 days continuously without a day off.

Amazon responded to the report in an emailed statement that clarified that the company had already conducted an inspection of this factory in March.

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An undercover investigator at the factory found agency workers clocking up 80 hours of overtime in a month, exceeding the 36 hours permitted by law. Kara Hartnett Hurst, Amazon's head of worldwide sustainability replied and said that they will ensure the well-being of the factory workers.

"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 with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

However, China Labor Watch argues that Amazon and Foxconn should increase the base wages at the factory (at 1,750 RMB), so that employees can earn a decent living income without exhausting themselves. A 94-page report details poor working conditions barely two months after reports of strict rules restricting breaks at Amazon's United Kingdom fulfillment centers emerged.

As Bezos claimed the title as the richest man in the world, reports pile in that show that Amazon is treating their workers badly, both in the USA and beyond. Amazon regularly assesses suppliers, using independent auditors as appropriate, to monitor continued compliance and improvement. "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved", the statement said.

Foxconn said it didn't comment on matters involving current customers or products, but promptly claimed that it "works hard" to honor the law and that it will "rectify" violations if they're found.

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