updated 10:36 pm EDT, Fri September 28, 2012
Company is monitoring 800,000 workers, huge increase
According to China's own laws, full-time employees may not work more than 60 hours per week -- but enforcement of the law has been notoriously spotty, with many electronics firms cited for violations of the rules -- including Foxconn, the massive manufacturer that has Apple as one of its most prominent clients, though it also makes many Android and other devices for a wide variety of manufacturers. Apple, which has been stepping up enforcement pressure on Foxconn, now reports that 97 percent of its 800,000 workers are in compliance.
The company quietly updated its Supplier Responsibility page, reports TheNextWeb, and noted that it is now tracking over 800,000 workers at various supply-chain factories in China -- a substantial increase over the 500,000 it was tracking in January of this year. The compliance percentage is actually unchanged from last month, but again represents a steep increase in compliance from January, when less than 85 percent of workers were working no more than 60 hours per week.
As AppleInsider has noted, this still leaves an estimate of 24,000 workers that are reporting excessive hours, but this is a substantial drop from the 70,000 reported in January, particularly given the increase in the number of workers being tracked. Factory workers throughout China often log long hours on the job, as they routinely send all or part of their wages home to rural families that live in crushing poverty. Reports, however, have routinely shown incremental progress in this and other areas.
Foxconn has had difficulties in other areas as well, most notably problems with either accidentally or purposefully hiring underage workers. Schools in the various regions where Foxconn has factories routinely forge documentation to allow underage students to find work, again due mostly to rural poverty. The company has been cited in many areas by the Fair Labor Association, a reporting and enforcement advocacy group that Apple became the first electronics company to join, despite the number of clients Foxconn builds items for (including smartphones, tablets, Microsoft's Xbox and many other consumer electronics goods). [via TheNextWeb]