Amazon blasted by labour group over China factory conditions

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

Foxconn Technology Group says it is investigating a factory it operates that makes Amazon devices, including Kindles, after an in-depth report by advocacy group China Labor Watch criticized its "appalling working conditions", including excessive hours and over-reliance on temporary workers.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, officially Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

The situation is often even worse for "dispatch workers", or temporary staff who are brought into the factory when more hands are needed.

But China Labor Watch said its investigation found that about 40 per cent of workers at the Hunan plant were dispatch workers, far exceeding the 10 per cent limit under Chinese law.

"They were underpaid", Lu said.

"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", the report said, noting that workers at Foxconn's plant in the central China city of Hengyang made an average of only $2.26 (€1.91) per hour.

Foxconn, a consumer electronics manufacturer, said it's "aware" of the report and is conducting a "full investigation".

In its statement to the British publication, Amazon said: "Amazon takes reported violations of our supplier code of conduct extremely seriously". According to the labor laws of the country, no worker should be made to work more than 36 hours overtime in a month. In the case of the Foxconn Hengyang factory, Amazon completed its most recent audit in March 2018 and identified two issues of concern. In a report from The Guardian, it seems that one of Amazon's suppliers has been found out to have violated certain labor laws where they hired an illegally high number of agency workers and found that they were not paying them properly for overtime.

While working conditions in Chinese factories have been a point of concern for quite some time, with companies like Apple, Nike, Foxconn and a host of other brands having been in the spotlight recently, Amazon has now been highlighted by New York-based China Labor Watch in a report released this weekend.

According to the report, not only are the working conditions harsh, but workers are also paid very low wages, and so must rely on overtime to earn enough money to survive.

"Other major issues at the factory include inadequate fire safety in the dormitory area, lack of sufficient protective equipment, absence of a functioning labor union at the factory, and strict management who subject workers to verbal abuse", CLW added.

It said it is monitoring Foxconn's response and "compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct".

"If infractions are identified, we work to immediately rectify them", it was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.

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