Foxconn investigating labour conditions at China factory used for Amazon products

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Foxconn investigating labour conditions at China factory used for Amazon products

Foxconn Technology Group says it is investigating a factory it operates that makes Amazon devices, including Kindles, after an in-depth report by advocacy group China Labor Watch criticized its "appalling working conditions", including excessive hours and over-reliance on temporary workers.

Foxconn, known previously as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is the largest contract electronics maker in the world and employs over one million people.

Moreover, the report by China Labor Watch detailed how staff dormitories lack basic fire safety precautions, including the lack of emergency exits or fire extinguishers.

A joint investigation found multiple labor violations at a Foxconn plant in China where Amazon devices are produced.

The China Labor Watch investigation was published on Sunday stated that more than 40 percent of the staff in the Foxconn factory were agency workers. Dispatch workers didn't receive higher wages for overtime hours and were offered only unpaid sick leave, and were required to cover their own fees for a physical examination when starting work at the factory. Foxconn is considering building a display-manufacturing plant in the US, the value of which could exceed $7 billion.

"We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn", Amazon said, adding it is monitoring Foxconn's response and "compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct". It also describes an environment where 60-hour workweeks are common during peak season, and a significant portion of factory workers do not receive adequate overtime compensation.

In a statement responding to the report, Amazon said it had raised "issues of concern" at its latest audit of the same factory in April of this year. Over nine months between August 2017 to August 2018, investigators found that Hengyang Foxconn, a factory producing Echo Dots and Kindles, violated labor laws. As salaries are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living.

Amazon said the factory was audited in March and found that dispatch workers and overtime were issues that concerned them.

Kara Hartnett Hurst, Amazon's head of worldwide sustainability, wrote back saying: "Amazon recognizes our responsibility to ensure the well-being of factory workers manufacturing products for Amazon".

Amazon said it's also "conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct". "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved".

Meanwhile, Foxconn "works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations", according to the same Reuters report.

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