U.S. watchdog finds violations at Foxconn factory making Amazon devices

Credit Reuters

China Labor Watch released an investigative report titled "Amazon Profits from Secretly Oppressing Its Supplier's Workers", which details the deplorable conditions for employees at a factory in China. Dispatch workers can be equated to temporary staff in the US.

The workers that make Amazon's Echo and Kindles are hugely overwork and underpaid.

The investigation also found that during peak production times, factory staff were working more than 100 hours of overtime a month - almost triple the 36 hours of overtime a month permitted under Chinese law.

The probe also found that the Hengyang workers were paid less than Foxconn workers in other Chinese cities - earning a monthly wage of 1,750 yuan ($273 US), while those at a Foxconn factory in Shenzen start at 2,400 ($375) yuan. The temporary workers are further claimed to receive no overtime pay, being paid a flat rate of $2.26 an hour regardless of how long they have been working and dropping to $2.11 if they miss more than two days of work, and do not receive social insurance or housing contributions - the former being a requirement under Chinese labour law.

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

The US tech giant admitted that its supplier factory in Hengyang breached laws that limit the number of agency workers employed.

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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. And while dispatch workers put in over 100 hours of overtime a month during the peak season, they're only supposed to work more than 36 overtime hours.

China Labour Watch used an investigator who reported on his month at the factory, talking of workings "slumped, exhausted over their workbenches". "Furthermore, the working conditions between dispatch workers and regular workers were markedly different despite working the same positions", the report states.

The major electronics manufacturer in China was criticised for working conditions in plants where Apple devices were made, leading to the company installing safety netting to prevent worker suicides. Still, wages are deducted as penalty for taking leave or "unexcused absences", and workers are subjected to verbal abuse.

Amazon said it had completed an audit of the factory in March and found violations regarding overtime and the use of dispatch workers, which it asked Foxconn to remedy. "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved".

"If infractions are identified, we work to immediately rectify them", it was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.

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