Foxconn announced major reforms yesterday after an investigation by the Fair Labor Association found conditions that violated both the FLA’s standards and Chinese legal regulations. But while American’s may be comforting themselves that their shiny new iPhones and iPads are going to be made in more humane factories, the Chinese workers are upset that they will be missing out on the chance to maximize their income.
“Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money,” a 23-year-old Foxconn worker told Reuters. “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,” said another, a 25 year old woman who currently earns around $643 a month.
Foxconn has said it will be reducing workers hours to a maximum of 49 per week including overtime. It promised its 1.2 million staffers, many of whom come from very poor areas of rural China, that it would compensate them for the lost hours and that their wages would not decline. But workers didn’t believe it. These are very young men and women eager to earn as much as possible in an effort to push themselves out of poverty and into China’s burgeoning middle class. “We are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important,” a 25-year-old worker told Reuters.