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Friday, May 17, 2013
Labor Monitor Says Progress Made In Apple Supplier Foxconn

Foxconn Technology Group is trying to meet a July deadline for cutting work hours and improving union participation, said the labor monitor appointed by Apple, its largest customer.

An update published today by the Fair Labor Association outlines ongoing efforts by Apple's largest supplier, Foxconn, to implement the 15-month action plan developed following FLA's original investigation of three facilities in early 2012. This verification reviewed items scheduled for completion through December 31, 2012, finding that Foxconn had completed all planned actions. Six items related to hours of work, slated for July 2013, remain to be completed.

Independent assessors engaged by FLA returned to the three Foxconn facilities from January 15 to January 25, 2013, to conduct visual observations, review records and documentation, and interview workers and management. Assessors found that there had been notable increases in the participation of workers in union committees, and a corresponding decline in management participation in such committees since the first verification visit in June 2012.

"The increase of worker representatives in Foxconn's union committees is encouraging," said Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the FLA. "When FLA first visited Foxconn last year, the union committees - like those at most other factories in China ' were dominated by management. By this time next year, we expect worker participation to be even higher."

The percentage of worker representatives in the main union committees increased to 38.7 percent in Guanlan from 0 percent in June 2012; to 40.9 percent in Longhua from 10.3 percent; and to 29.5 percent in Chengdu from 7.1 percent. The next elections are scheduled for January 2015 in Guanlan and Longhua, and for March 2014 in Chengdu.

Assessors also found that Foxconn management had made significant progress in reducing hours of work to 60 hours per week including overtime, bringing Foxconn into compliance with the FLA code standard. The company continues working toward the goal of reaching full compliance with the Chinese legal limit by July 2013. Assessors found that workers at the Longhua and Chengdu facilities worked between 40 and 60 hours during every week of the period under review; the same was true in the Guanlan facility, with the exception of two weeks in September and one in October, where working hours were between 40 and 70 hours per week.

The FLA also identified several new issues. These included items such as insufficient lighting at some workstations and high noise level in some areas. The FLA has forwarded the items and recommendations to Apple, which is developing a plan and addressing these items in the ongoing implementation of its obligations as an FLA-affiliated Participating Company.

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