It’s a situation where Apple seems to be darned if they do and darned if they don’t. After the Fair Labor Association’s review and recently released report of the controversial Chinese Foxconn factories, Apple and Foxconn pledged to cut hours for workers so that 60+ hour work weeks with few breaks wouldn’t be a problem anymore. The only issue now is that Foxconn workers are seemingly not happy about the cut in hours.
According to what Apple Foxconn workers told Reuters, some employees of Foxconn are concerned about their future pay. As most know, a cut in hours generally means a cut in salary, unless of course the pay rate is increased. Chinese Foxconn workers like Wu Jun were quoted by Reuters as saying that they are accustomed to working long hours and to a specific amount of pay. Jun said that, “we are worried we will have less money to spend. O fcourse, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money.”
Yet another Foxconn worker by the name of Chen Yamei was quoted bas saying that, “we are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important.” Yamei says that her fellow Foxconn workers are particularly upset that they cannot work more than 36 hours per month of overtime. According to Yamei, 60 hours of overtime per month would be more reasonable.
The only problem with this is that 60 hours of overtime works out to 15 hours per week of overtime. Assuming the normal workweek in China consists of 40-45 hours per week, with overtime this total would be back at 60+ hours per week. The Fair Labor Association has made it clear that the idea of 60+ hour workweeks in the Apple Foxconn plant is not good for the workers health.
A better solution would be for Apple to raise the pay of Foxconn workers. With an average hourly wage of just $2 per hour and record profits, Apple can afford to boost the Foxconn wage. If they were to do this, Foxconn workers would be OK with the hour cut as they’d still be getting paid a fair amount.
No word yet on what Apple will do, though we believe they’ll find some sort of compromise with these disgruntled Foxconn workers.