Apple, Foxconn to Overhaul Conditions

Move follows report critical of factory conditions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2012 4:29 PM CDT
Apple, Foxconn to Overhaul Conditions
In this March 28 photo provided by Apple, CEO Tim Cook, center, visits the iPhone production line at Foxconn Zhengzhou Technology Park.   (AP Photo/Apple)

Apple and Chinese supplier Foxconn promise to boost factory conditions and wages for Foxconn's workers. Apple's announcement follows an independent investigation which found that Foxconn, which builds iPads, iPhones, and more, was breaking labor laws; workers at the company were averaging more than 60 hours per week at the busiest times. Now, employees' maximum weekly hours will be cut to 49 at the same total pay; the firm will hire tens of thousands to make up the gap in work hours.

Foxconn, the biggest private-sector employer in China, will also bolster workplace safety and expand and improve employee housing. The move by the technology giants will influence the whole sector, analysts say. "Apple and Foxconn are obviously the two biggest players" and they "set the bar for the rest of the sector," says the head of the Fair Labor Association, which conducted the investigation. That also means higher costs for other companies partnered with Foxconn, among them Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Amazon. Consumers are likely to see slightly higher prices, too, Reuters reports. Foxconn recently announced it would raise employee salaries amid criticism, some of which has turned out to be false. (More Apple stories.)

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