Amazon called out over China factory

Credit Reuters

Credit Reuters

Foxconn the Taiwan-based contract manufacturer announced on Sunday that it was investigating one of its plants in China where devices are made for Amazon.com, after a watchdog group in the USA criticized what it called harsh labor conditions at the plant. A number of dispatch workers do not receive a copy of their labour contract.

A labour watchdog group has called out Amazon for its poor factory conditions at its Chinese facility where Echo devices and Kindles are built.

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

Dispatch workers were paid at the same rate for regular and overtime hours, rather than time-and-a-half as required, according to China Labor Watch. A staffer making Apple products in Shenzhen has a base monthly pay of 2,400 yuan ($375 US), but one of Amazon's Hengyang workers starts at 1,750 yuan ($273) per month.

On Monday, Foxconn said in an exchange filing it's begun its own internal investigation and will rectify any illegality it discovers.

'We are carrying out a full investigation of the areas raised by the report, ' a company spokesperson claimed in a brief statement to press, 'and if found to be true, immediate actions will be taken to bring the operations into compliance with our Code of Conduct.

"Amazon has the ability to not only ensure its supplier factories respects the rights of workers but also that there is equal pay for equal work", the report states.

China Labor Watch's investigator worked on the factory's night shift, brushing dust off Alexa Echo Dot speakers from 8 p.m. until the small hours of the morning. The biggest violations surrounded the factory's use of "dispatch workers", which are temporary employees.

The violations were said to be taking place at a Foxconn factory in Hengyang in Hunan province that is involved in production of Amazon devices. "As wages are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living". Staff was also subject to verbal abuse, it added.

Amazon said it's also "conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct".

In its statement, Foxconn said salary reviews "are conducted regularly and we ensure that we offer all employees remuneration that exceeds statutory requirements and that is competitive with our industry peers".

Foxconn said that it "works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations in all markets where we operate".

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