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Under fire Apple pledges to ease 'sweatshop conditions' for China factory workers

London, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 31 (ANI): Apple's main electronics manufacturer in China has promised to dramatically raise wages and trim work hours for its employees.

The Taiwanese company Foxconn, which produces most of the parts for Apple iPads, iPhones and iMacs, made the decision after a string of suicides at its factories and a damning report into its employment practices.

The firm became a source of growing embarrassment for the technology giant as allegations of 'sweatshop' conditions mounted.

Amid a global backlash, Apple agreed to join the Fair Labour Association (FLA), a monitoring group that sent inspectors into three of Foxconn's 13 Chinese factories.

The inspectors recently published their scathing report, which found numerous violations of China's labour laws, employees who were working more than 11 days in a row without a break and widespread safety hazards inside the factories.

The report described workers as 'largely alienated' from the management and that, while wages were in general above the Chinese average, more than one in 10 was not being paid fairly for the amount of overtime they were working, The Telegraph reports.

In the wake of the report, Foxconn announced that it would cut workers hours to a maximum of 49 a week without cutting their pay, effectively promising a significant pay rise.

According to the paper, if it meets its pledge to improve conditions by the summer of 2013, as mandated by the FLA report, then the costs of its operations in China are likely to rise by hundreds of millions of dollars and other manufacturers may be forced to follow suit.

Foxconn also produces electronic parts for Dell, Amazon, HP and a host of other technology firms.

It is China's largest private employer and its pledged changes are likely to send ripples throughout the entire Chinese manufacturing sector. (ANI)


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