Earlier in the year, Foxconn promised the Washington-based labor group, the Fair Labor Association, a 15-month-long program to improve the working environment and cut overtime and excessively long working hours for its 1 million factory workers in China.
But the program doesn't seem to have helped the workers. After their hours were cut and the hourly wage remained low, a lot of workers thought about quitting.
According to a Foxconn worker in Shenzhen who declined to reveal his identity, most people there actually would like to have more working hours and OTs (overtime) since the longer one worked meant higher wages.
"Out of the 2,350 yuan (US$370) salary every month, we have to pay 190 yuan for social security insurance, 120 yuan for housing fund, 110 yuan for accommodation, and three meals a day. Life is tough," the unidentified worker said in an interview with a local newspaper.
"A lot of workers have clearly come to Shenzhen to make as much money as they can in as short a period as they can, and overtime hours are very important in that calculation," said Auret van Heerden, president and CEO of the FLA, in a talk with Reuters, "We are picking up concerns now on the microblogs about what's likely to happen as hours gets changed, and whether their incomes will be shaved as well."
Li Hongqi (who is using an alias) used to earn almost 4,000 yuan (US$630) a month making Apple iPads in Foxconn's Shenzhen factory. But after the cut in hours, he could only save less than 1,000 working for less than 60 days in total during the last three months.
"I used to work for 10 hours a day making tablet computers. In February, which is the busiest, I could make as many as 150 to 180 pieces an hour," said Li. "But now I have already submitted the resignation letter and prepare to leave Foxconn."