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Change is hard, but for Foxconn, it’s coming — albeit slowly.
The Taiwanese manufacturing giant is making good on its promise to improve the working conditions in its Chinese factories, reports The New York Times. While some of these changes are as small as giving workers cushioned seats, other improvements are a lot more vital. Some employees were working as many as 100 hours a week, more than double the legal limit in China. Foxconn plans to cut that in half by next July — all the while increasing worker wages.
The changes are extremely important for not only the employees of Foxconn but for those of other manufacturing companies as well. With 1.4 million employees, Foxconn is China’s largest private employer — which means that any changes it makes carry serious weight for the rest of the industry. What Foxconn does, other companies tend to follow.
The company, in that respect, is a lot like Apple, which is also capable of reinventing whole industries. Some worker advocacy groups, however, say that Apple has so far failed to effectively wield its influence over other electronics giants. Apple, predictably, denies these claims by citing all the workplace safety standards it’s set over the years.
“We have been upfront about the challenges we face and are attacking issues aggressively. We believe deeply in transparency and have demonstrated this through reporting our shortcomings and exposing violations,” Apple said in a statement to The New York Times.