Hon Hai-owned manufacturing giant Foxconn intends to release a portion of its workforce in favor of 1 million new robot workers according to a new report. Xinhua News Agency said on Friday that Hon Hai chairman and founder Terry Gou confirmed the news, seemingly in callous fashion at an employee dance party. The new robots will be used to perform “simple and routine work” such as part assembly and welding. Foxconn currently employs approximately 1.2 million people and also utilizes 10,000 robots. According to the chairman’s reported comments, the number of robot workers will increase to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years. It is unclear how much of Foxconn’s current workforce will be let go following the introduction of these new robots. Foxconn’s treatment of its workforce has garnered a great amount of attention following a string of employee suicides. More →
Taiwan’s minister of the Counsel of Labor Affairs (CLA) on Thursday announced her intentions to raise the nation’s basic wage for public workers by over 3%. CLA minister Jennifer Wang remarked that despite a 3.47% increase to Taiwan’s basic wage last year, the planned 3% pay hike for public workers should be increased further still. Wang argues that the country’s base pay was too low to begin with, so another 3% hike will not be sufficient for those earning a minimum wage. As of January 1st of this year, basic pay for public workers was increased from NT$17,280 to NT$17,880, or approximately $619 each month. The CLA minister’s comments came following Lawmaker Ho Tsai-feng’s note that the minimum wage should be raised by $2,330 each month, the average increase across all public workers at the currently slated 3% rate. This would bring Taiwan’s monthly minimum wage to NT$20,110, or $696. More →
It’s no wonder why Foxconn is considering moving some facilities outside Taiwan and China and into other countries like Brazil. Beyond the potential tax benefits for the manufacturer and its clients, China and Taiwan are finally beginning to address problems surrounding the working conditions its citizens have endured in recent history. Forced wage increases and other recent moves such as Taipei City’s decision on Tuesday to slash the maximum monthly working hours from 312 to 260 for some laborers threaten to spill over into other regions and industries. For Foxconn and parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. — which just revealed March revenue of NT$214.9 billion ($7.39 billion USD), up 41% over February — the financial impact of these moves on the bottom line could be massive. It will be interesting to see how Chinese President Hu Jintao receives Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as they discuss shifting billions of dollars out of China and into Brazil.