FLA: Labor conditions at Foxconn getting better

The Fair Labor Association says slated action items such as reducing of work hours have been completed on time, and some ahead of schedule, at three of Foxconn's plants.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

Auditors from the Fair Labor Association (FLA) have found that remedial actions imposed on Apple's key supplier, Foxconn, are being completed on time and some ahead of schedule, and Cupertino has done its part in holding its partner accountable for complying with the action plan.

In a status report issued on Tuesday, the FLA verified the implementation of actionable items at three Foxconn facilities and for the 195 slated for April and May, the company had completed all of them on time. Furthermore, 89 action items were completed ahead of their deadlines, it added.

"Our verification shows that the necessary changes, including immediate health and safety measures, have been made. We are satisfied that Apple has done its due diligence thus far to hold Foxconn accountable for complying with the action plan," said Auret van Heerden, president and CEO of FLA, in the report.

Some of these changes include reducing work hours to under 60 per week, which include overtime, with the final goal of reaching compliance with the Chinese legal limit of 40 hours per week plus an average of 9 hours of overtime by July 2013.

There has also been changes to the design of workers' equipment to guard against repetitive stress injuries, updating of maintenance policies to ensure equipment is working properly, and testing of emergency equipment such as eye washes and sprinklers, the report noted.

The next phase of actions will be challenging though, and van Heerden called on Foxconn to keep communication lines open with its workers open.

"The next phase of improvements will be challenging for Foxconn because they involve major changes in the working environment that will inevitably cause uncertainty and anxiety among workers. As Foxconn prepares to comply with the Chinese legal limits on work hours, consultation with workers on the changes and implications will be critical to a successful transition," he said.

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