U.S. rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over China labour conditions

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

China Labor Watch launched a nine-month investigation into the Hengyang Foxconn factory, which produces some of Amazon's most sought after products.

This is, of course, not the first time labor issues at Foxconn, one of the largest electronic OEMs in the world and the main supplier of Apple's iPhones, have been scrutinized.

Moreover, the report by China Labor Watch detailed how staff dormitories lack basic fire safety precautions, including the lack of emergency exits or fire extinguishers.

Workers were required to work more than 100 hours of monthly overtime in violation of Chinese labour law that limits overtime to 36 hours a month. The 94-page China Labor Watch report found that temp workers were not paid overtime, and unlike full-time workers did not receive sufficient safety training.

"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", the report said, noting workers at Foxconn's plant in the central China city of Hengyang made an average of $2.26 per hour.

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Foxconn, a consumer electronics manufacturer, said it's "aware" of the report and is conducting a "full investigation".

An Amazon spokesman said: "Amazon takes reported violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct extremely seriously".

The factory is accused of relying heavily on so-called dispatch workers - those who are employed through agencies rather than by Foxconn itself.

The watchdog group China Labor Watch, based out of NY, released a study over the weekend relating the conditions under which workers in the factory function.

Amazon said it was aware of "two issues of concern" at the Foxconn factory earlier this year involving despatch workers and overtime pay, CNN reports.

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Amazon said it immediately asked for an action plan after identifying "two issues of concern" at the plant in March. 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.

As Bezos claimed the title as the richest man in the world, reports pile in that show that Amazon is treating their workers badly, both in the US and beyond. Both are considerably lower than an estimated living wage of about $710, promoting employees to work as much as 80 hours of overtime in the case of the Hengyang factory.

The online retailing giant said it is monitoring Foxconn's response and "compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct".

"We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved", the company added.

Foxconn said it didn't comment on matters involving current customers or products, but promptly claimed that it "works hard" to honor the law and that it will "rectify" violations if they're found.

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