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Watchdog Blasts Amazon for Conditions at Chinese Echo Factory

12 June 2018

The US giant company issues a statement regretting the issues following the investigation of Observer and US-based China Labor Watch into their unethical and illegal working conditions in their supplier factory in Hengyang.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (2317.TW), is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and employs more than a million people. More than 40% of the staff there were temporary employees, while China only allows 10% of any workforce to be temps.

A Chinese plant that makes devices for Amazon is being investigated after an American watchdog group slammed the facility for harsh working conditions.

China Labour Watch said dispatch staff were paid less than permanent staff, had significantly less training, were not properly rewarded for working overtime, and were not paid for sick leave.

"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", the report said, noting that workers at Foxconn's plant in the central China city of Hengyang made an average of only $2.26 (€1.91) per hour.

The report alleged working conditions between despatch workers and regular workers was "markedly different" with regular workers receiving five days of training compared to despatch workers receiving just eight hours of training.

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It's report controversially alleges that Amazon "profits from secretly oppressing its supplier's workers".

Employees were subject to a gruelling 100 hours of monthly overtime, according to the report, which should have been no more than 36 hours under Chinese labour law. Back in 2010, Foxconn's Longhua factory, where it produces iPhones, was blamed for a series of worker suicides.

But now a USA watchdog group, China Labor Watch, has alleged fresh worker violations and harsh working conditions at the Foxconn factory in Hunan province. As salaries are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living.

Amazon told Gizmodo it completed its own audit of the Foxconn manufacturing plant in March and found "two issues of concern".

The report also claimed that the factory had poor fire safety in its dormitories, lack of sufficiently protective equipment, verbally abusive managers and the "absence of a functioning labor union". Amazon is now conducting regular assessments to monitor implementation and compliance with its supplier code of conduct, it said. "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved", the statement said.

Meanwhile, Foxconn "works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations", according to the same Reuters report.

Watchdog Blasts Amazon for Conditions at Chinese Echo Factory