An investigation into working conditions at three Foxconn factories, which is the largest supplier of Apple branded technology, has found that all three factories break labour laws on the amount of overtime that can be worked.
Conditions at the Chinese factories were investigated by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) following a number of suicides in the past few years and a protest early in 2012 which saw 150 workers threaten to hurl themselves from the roof in a bid to highlight the poor working conditions.
The investigators found that during peak production the average number of hours worked per week exceeded both the FLA Code standard and Chinese legal limits. This was true in all three factories.
There were also periods when some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required minimum 24-hour break. Payment for overtime was also heavily criticised.
“The FLA also discovered that 14 per cent of workers may not receive fair compensation for unscheduled overtime. The assessment found that unscheduled overtime was only paid in 30-minute increments. This means, for example, that 29 minutes of overtime work results in no pay and 58 minutes results in only one unit of overtime pay,” the report said.
The inspectors also highlighted some health and safety risks at the factories, while 35,500 anonymous surveys completed by workers pointed to major communications problems between management and the workforce.
Following the report by the FLA, Foxconn has promised to improve conditions and increase pay for its workers.
The Taiwanese company said it will bring its factories into full compliance with Chinese legal limits and FLA standards by July 2013.
That will include bringing working hours down to the legal limit of 49 hours per week, including overtime, which would means a reduction in monthly overtime hours from 80 to 36.
A full copy of the report is available online.