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As we reported Thursday evening, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has released the findings of their Foxconn audit, resulting in a reduction of working hours at the Apple supplier and cutbacks in overtime. While the news has advocates for workers’ rights busy patting themselves on the back, the workers in China most affected by the decision are more worried than ever.
Reuters is reporting on worker reaction to the changes at Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer where many of Apple’s biggest hits are assembled. While the focus here in America has been on how Foxconn employees are overworked and underpaid, many of them now have another worry: Even less money thanks to cuts in working hours and overtime.
"We are worried we will have less money to spend,” explains 23-year-old Wu Jun, one such employee from the Hunan province in south China. “Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money.”
Among the concessions Foxconn has agreed to: Slashing overtime for its 1.2 million mainland China workers, while promising to make up the difference with an increase in base pay. The plan has Apple’s full support and approval, although many believe it could lead to increasing the cost of the devices and potentially constraining supply further than it already is.
Foxconn also plans to reduce how many hours per week employees can work, down to 49 including overtime.
"We are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important," remarked Chen Yamei, a four-year veteran of Foxconn’s assembly line. "We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little," noting that she currently earned a bit over 4,000 yuan a month -- only $634 USD.
For employees who are barely making ends meet as it is, the new Foxconn may be less enticing than the old model. "I don't go out that much as there is nothing much to do. I do go out for a meal once in a while," laments 21-year-old Huang Hai. "This is a good company to work for because the working conditions are better than a lot of other small factories."
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of Reuters)