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Factory reforms to improve working conditions at Foxconn

December 28, 2012

Changes to be brought in next year after critical meeting between Foxconn executives and Apple official.

Sydney Morning Herald reports that a “series of wide-ranging reforms” are planned to be brought into force at Foxconn factories in China in 2013 that aim to benefit workers across the electronics industry.

China’s largest employer, Foxconn, reportedly pledged to “sharply curtail workers’ hours and significantly increase wages”, with the company hitting the headlines last year after its workers threatened mass suicide over wage demands.

Apple, in turn, has “tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, has re-evaluated how it works with manufacturers, has asked competitors to help curb excessive overtime in China and has reached out to advocacy groups it once rebuffed”. It is believed that shifts in attitudes such as these will have a ripple effect on other electronics companies worldwide, particularly in how they interact with foreign factories and workers.

According to the article, despite working to improve working conditions at its factories for a number of years, it was believed that Apple “was treating such problems too much like engineering problems, with factory inspector Auret van Heerden of the Fair Labor Association commenting that “long term solutions require a messier, more human approach” such as listening better to workers’ complaints and advocacy groups’ recommendations.

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