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Amazon Allegedly Mistreated Workers of Chinese Factory

Advocacy Group Investigates Foxconn, Henyang

Sources claim that a China-based factory manufacturing Amazon products is the subject of an ongoing investigation dealing with alleged improper working conditions of its workers. An advocacy group released a report containing several allegations concerning the working conditions of the workers at Hengyang factory of Foxconn, one of Amazon’s suppliers.

The report by China Labor Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, was released after nine months of investigation into the factory’s working conditions and its report indicated low wages, excessive working hours and inadequate training as some of the wrongful working conditions in the factory.

China Labour Watch releases report after nine months of investigation into the working conditions of Foxconn workers

Report Findings

The report includes a claim that the factory workers have to work a monthly overtime period of over 100 hours during peak periods which is a violation of China’s labor law that makes 36 hours the monthly overtime limit. The report further mentioned an instance when the workers had to work for 14 days at a stretch.  According to the report, the workers have no option as their wages are low and they have to work overtime hours to earn what was sufficient to maintain a decent living standard.

The released report indicates that Foxconn workers work over 100 hours during peak periods

The report further claims that close to 40% of workers are dispatch workers, despite Chinese law stating that companies should not have more than 10% dispatch workers. The report also indicates that the dispatch workers get paid an hourly sum of 14.5 yuan (£1.69).

According to Elaine Lu, the Program Officer of the advocacy group, paying the dispatch workers at the exact rate as regular and overtime hours is a violation of law which requires dispatch workers to be paid time and a half. Lu expressly stated that the workers are underpaid and this is an illegal act.

The report also indicates that the employees are not equipped with sufficient safety training, and safety precautions such as fire extinguishers are inadequate in the staff dormitory. In addition, the report claims that there is a requirement for workers to get to workstations ten minutes prior to the time when their shifts begin, and no compensation is paid for this time.

Amazon And Foxconn Responds

Foxconn in response to the allegations levied against it has said that it has started an investigation on all the claims. In an email sent to a media outlet, the company stated that a full investigation is being carried out on all the allegations raised in the report and if the claims are found to be true, it will take actions immediately to ensure that the operations are made compliant with the company’s code of conduct.

In an earlier statement, the manufacturing company said that it puts in hard work to ensure that its activities fully comply with the relevant laws and regulations where its operations are being carried out while also carrying out regular audits. The company further stated that on previous occasions when it identified any infractions, immediate actions were taken to remedy the situations.

Formerly known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, Foxconn is reportedly the largest contract electronics manufacturer in the world and has over a million employees.  The Taiwan-based company also manufactures Apple Inc iPhones and it faced criticism in 2010 on the working conditions at this factory which made the company put up safety netting to prevent workers from further committing suicide.

Amazon, on the other hand, stated that it audited Foxconn in March and mentioned that it raised the use of dispatch workers and overtime hours as issues to be addressed.

Amazon stated that when the recent report got to its knowledge, there was an immediate request that Foxconn Hengyang sent a corrective action plan highlighting what they intend to do to make things right. The company further stated that it regularly assesses the company to monitor its implementation and compliance with Amazon’s Supplier Code of Conduct.  The company expressed its commitment to resolving the issues that have been raised.

Kara Hurst, a director at Amazon, responded to the report in a letter where she stated that the retailer would closely follow the remediation plans and also follow up assessments based on their findings. She expressly mentioned that Amazon recognizes that it has a responsibility to see to the wellbeing of workers in factories manufacturing its products. It will be recalled that Amazon itself has been a subject of criticism for working conditions in its US-based warehouses in times past. Reports indicate that Amazon was a party to a lawsuit where it was alleged to have deprived workers of their wages by requiring that they clock off before taking a position on the security lines. The company won the case as the Supreme Court made a ruling that workers were not entitled to security screening payments.

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