Rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over China labor conditions

Credit Reuters

Foxconn is investigating a plant in China that makes Echo Dot smart speakers and Kindle e-readers for Amazon.com after an American watchdog group criticized the conditions at the factory, according to Reuters.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, officially Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. A number of dispatch workers do not receive a copy of their labour contract.

Foxconn's facility in Hengyang, which makes Amazon products, has been accused of poor working conditions.

The report followed a nine-month investigation found that "dispatch workers (temporary workers) made up more than 40 percent of the workforce, a clear violation of the legally mandated 10 percent".

On top of this, Hengyang workers were paid considerably less than those at other Foxconn factories.

"Dispatch workers earn 14.5 RMB/hour ($2.26 USD) and are paid the same rate for normal hours and overtime hours", the report stated.

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

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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. It also describes an environment where 60-hour workweeks are common during peak season, and a significant portion of factory workers do not receive adequate overtime compensation. The tech giant said that it had already identified the violations with regard to overtime as well as how dispatch workers were being employed and had asked Foxconn to remedy these issues immediately.

Amazon told Gizmodo it completed its own audit of the Foxconn manufacturing plant in March and found "two issues of concern".

Workers tasked to build Echos and Kindles at a factory in Hengyang, China, are subjected to grueling working conditions, low wages, and practices that violate the country's labor laws.

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.

The report also claimed that the factory had poor fire safety in its dormitories, lack of sufficiently protective equipment, verbally abusive managers and the "absence of a functioning labor union". "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved".

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

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