Apple Foxconn Workers Threaten to Jump Off Factory Roof to Protest Wages

Source: Foxconn Factory in Shenzhen, China/ Wikipedia

Last Friday, it was reported that about 200 Foxconn employees threatened to commit suicide over claimed wage disputes and workplace conditions. The protest came almost a month after Apple and its Chinese manufacturing partners signed agreements to reform employees’ wages, workplace conditions, and working hours.

The Fair Labor Association’s Review

It should be recalled that the Fair Labor Association published its review of Foxconn’s labor practices last month. The report revealed that the manufacturing firm committed a number of violations, including employees working more than the legally allowed 60 hours per week. There were also claims that the workers were unable to take the mandated weekly 24 hours off.

Following this report, Foxconn promised to adhere to Chinese law and the FLA’s code. Their resolve was to decrease the working hours to 49 hours per week, including overtime. The allowed monthly overtime was also reduced from 80 to 36 hours. As stated by CEO and President Auret van Heerden:

“The Fair Labor Association gave Apple’s largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff hours investigating three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers. Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions and we will verify progress and report publicly.”

Ironically, Foxconn employees preferred working longer hours in order to gain a higher salary. In response to this, the manufacturing firm agreed to also create a better compensation package to make up for the losses that workers would face because of the decreased in hours.

Protesting Workers at Foxconn

As reported by the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights, about 200 people warned that they would jump off the roof of Foxconn’s Wuhan factory. This threat is similar to one that was actually carried out by workers in 2010. The nonprofit organization claimed that the root of the protest was due to the fact that Wuhan workers earned less compared to their previous jobs.

On the other hand, Hon Hai Precision’s spokesman Simon Tsing said that the incident involved new workers who disagreed with certain work adjustments. Hon Hai Precision publicly trades as Foxconn. Tsing was also quick to point out that no one had jumped off the factory roof and that it was not a strike.

However, he fell short of disclosing the nature of the protest and the exact number of employees involved. Meanwhile, there were clarifications that Foxconn’s Wuhan factory is responsible for making Microsoft’s Xbox 360. It is not associated with Apple’s hardware in any way.

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