updated 11:05 am EDT, Fri May 6, 2011
Claims promises of improvements unfulfilled
Asian manufacturer Foxconn and client companies like Apple, HP and Dell have failed to live up to promises of higher labor standards, says a Hong Kong-based activist group. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) charges that while the client firms have pledged to work with Foxconn to raise standards to acceptable levels, many problems still persist. Foxconn is still allegedly making misleading statements about wages and benefits, and even the location of work. Wages are often miscalculated and people are still working many hours of unpaid overtime, potentially as much as 80 to 100 a month without meal breaks. Overtime was supposed to drop to 36 hours.
Workers are said to function without proper safety precautions in some cases, and may not be informed about the dangers of chemicals they're exposed to. Interns are still reportedly treated as full-time workers, and are forced to handle night shifts. Complaining about any of these issues is difficult in spite of a hotline arranged for workers, SACOM comments. Foxconn is noted to use "military" management, particularly when it comes to training new employees.
Apple is claimed to bear special responsibility because of its production demands. While most Apple goods are assembled at Foxconn's Shenzhen facilities, which also handles orders from HP, Dell, Nokia and others, the Chengdu campus -- with some 100,000 workers -- is entirely devoted to iPads.