Foxconn Technology said this weekend that it would increase worker salaries at its Chinese factories by as much as 16 to 25 percent as it faces intense public scrutiny over the working conditions in at its factories.
The New York Times reported that the increases will happen immediately and that the assembly line workers will have reduced overtime factory hours as well.
The announcement comes as its facilities are being investigated by the Fair Labor Association, a labor rights group at the insistence of Foxconn's major client, Apple Inc. Foxconn produces components for Apple's iPad and iPhone devices.
Foxconn has been criticized for its treatment of its factory workers before. In 2010 factory workers committed suicide over the severe working conditions but the issue has received much publicized attention recently after the Times published a series of exposes on the company's alleged harsh working conditions. The exposes sparked calls for boycotts of Apple, petitions from labor rights groups and demonstrations at Apple stores.
In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked the FLA, an organization that is dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions worldwide to investigate Foxconn facilities in Shenzen and Chengdu, China. The FLA report isn't expected until next month but the head of the organization said in telephone interview to Bloomberg that the group had found tons of issues with that need to be addressed at the Foxconn plant.
"Foxconn is cooperating fully with this audit and we will review and act on all findings and recommendations," Foxconn said in an e-mailed statement.
"This is a very professional and thorough review and any deficiencies the FLA might find in the implementation of customer or Foxconn policies will be addressed."
Foxconn implemented the wage hike on February 1 but noted that its worker salaries already exceed the Shenzen government's mandated minimum monthly wage requirement of 1500 yuan. Monthly salaries for Foxconn's Shenzen workers before the wage hike were at 1800 yuan. The workers will now receive between 2200 yuan (US$350) and 2500 yuan.
Despite the wage increase the workers are still not being paid enough according to a Hong Kong based labor watchdog, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior. Many of the Foxconn workers also do an additional 60 to 80 hours overtime work. Foxconn worker salaries also vary by location. In Zhengzhou, Foxconn workers only make an average monthly salary of 1350 yuan.
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