Apple, Foxconn Revamp China Work Conditions - Yahoo! Finance
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - In a landmark development for the way Western companies do business in China, Apple Inc said on Thursday it had agreed to work with partner Foxconn to tackle wage and working condition violations at the factories that produce its popular products.
Foxconn - which makes Apple devices from the iPhone to the iPad - will hire tens of thousands of new workers, clamp down on illegal overtime, improve safety protocols and upgrade worker housing and other amenities.
The moves come in response to one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company’s operations abroad. Apple had agreed to the probe by the independent Fair Labor Association in response to a crescendo of criticism that its products were built on the backs of mistreated Chinese workers.
The association, in disclosing its findings from a survey of three Foxconn plants and over 35,000 workers, said it had unearthed multiple violations of labor law, including extreme hours and unpaid overtime.
Apple, the world’s most valuable corporation, and Foxconn, China’s biggest private-sector employer and Apple’ main contract manufacturer, are so dominant in the global technology industry that their newly forged accord will likely have a substantial ripple effect across the sector.
The agreement is a sign of the increasing power of Chinese workers to command higher wages given climbing prices in China in recent years for everything from food to housing and medical care, and an aging workforce that has led to labor shortages.