Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Amazon factory accused of harsh working conditions, low wages

Amazon factory accused of harsh working conditions, low wages

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 US criticized what it called harsh labor conditions at the plant.

It is worth remembering that Foxconn is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and employs more than a million people, spread across multiple factories in the Far East and beyond.

Amazon/China Labour WatchAmazon Echo Dot, and inset, the Hengyang Foxconn factory in which it is made. 40% of the staff were agency workers and those who were working working overtime were being paid at the normal hourly rate instead of the time-and-a-half required by Chinese law and by Amazon's own supplier code of conduct.

"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", the report said.

A Foxconn factory in China is being investigated by its owner, after a USA watchdog alleged serious workplace violations at the plant.

"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.

Employees were subject to a gruelling 100 hours of monthly overtime, according to the report, which should have been no more than 36 hours under Chinese labour law.

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China Labour Watch used an investigator who reported on his month at the factory, talking of workings "slumped, exhausted over their workbenches". The lengthy report claims workers at the Foxconn factory are forced to work long hours, are given inadequate training, and are often exposed to hazardous conditions.

Foxconn, which also makes Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPhones, came under fire in 2010 for a spate of suicides at plants in China.

"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 to the Taiwan stock exchange.

Amazon said the factory was audited in March and found that dispatch workers and overtime were issues that concerned them.

Amazon said it will also be "conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct". "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved", the statement said.

Salary reviews are conducted regularly, and all full-time and temporary employees receive "both pre-job training and additional training in their assigned departments", Foxconn said in a June 10 statement. It added that regular audits were carried out "and if infractions are identified, we work to immediately rectify them".

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