Foxconn workers react to reduced hours, same pay

In response to one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company’s foreign partners, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has agreed to hire tens of thousands of new workers, eliminate illegal overtime, improve safety condition and upgrade workers’ housing and other amenities, Reuters reported on Friday. After probing three Foxconn plants and interviewing over 35,000 workers, the Fair Labor Association reported that it found serious violations of Chinese labor laws, such as illegal and unpaid overtime, and extreme hours. Foxconn plans to reduce workers’ hours to 49 per week, which includes overtime, and it does not plan to raise salaries. The company will also hire additional workers and build more housing and canteens to combat overcrowding. While some of the company’s efforts have been praised, the changes have received mixed reactions from Foxconn’s employees. Read on for more.

Chen Yamei, a 25 year old worker who has been at a Foxconn for four years, complained that her salary will drop from 4,000 yuan a month to just over 2,000 yuan, roughly $317. “We are here to work and not to play,” she told Reuters. “Our income is very important.” Another worker had a different opinion on the matter, though. “Working here is just so-so. Working conditions and the pay are all right,” said 20 year old Li Wei, who has worked at the Foxconn factory for about a year. “However there are around 100,000 people in there, so sometimes the feeling can be oppressive,” Li said.

When 23-year-old Foxconn worker Wu Jun heard the news about working hours, she was filled with worry rather than joy. “We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money,” she said.

48% of employees said that their working hours were reasonable, 34% wanted to work more to increase pay and only 18% said their hours were too long, Bloomberg reported. 91% of employees polled said there was no need for more rest days, and 94% saw no need to change shift arrangements.

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