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In wake of suicides, Taiwanese electronics behemoth faces new accusations of labor violations.
The workers quoted in the report described ceaseless overtime, stagnant wages and increasing dorm fees for factory beds. Some workers said they are prohibited from traveling freely, and one said he was beaten for walking on the grass at a factory compound.
“The workers’ legal rights are not protected,” the report said. “They sell their health and even their lives while they are selling their labor.”
In a statement to GlobalPost, the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), which helped coordinate the investigation, said it hoped to spur government and trade union action to protect Foxconn’s workers.
“We support Foxconn victims’ and employees’ right to voice and unionize in their workplaces, and to strive for progressive reforms,” the group said. “By documenting life within Foxconn, we call on our government to reflect upon the low-cost export model that sacrifices the dignity, and lives, of young workers.”
“We further demand Foxconn management and global brand buyers such as Apple, HP and Dell take full responsibility for the human tragedy,” SACOM said. “We believe that consumers and investors around the world should have the right to know about the workers’ conditions behind our iPhones, laptops and music players.”
Jenny Chan, an adviser to SACOM, said the organization is also concerned about the squeeze for low prices from Foxconn’s customers, which include Apple, HP, Sony and the rest of the top names in global electronics. Foxconn is already faced with thin profit margins, she said, and contracting companies share in the responsibility.
“We recommend shared responsibilities of IT brands and Foxconn to enforce international labor standards by ensuring workers at Foxconn and other workplaces a living wage and decent conditions,” said Chan.
In a public letter to Foxconn CEO Terry Guo, the study’s authors pleaded for quick action to improve working conditions.
“Gentlemen love to make a fortune and earn it the right way,” said the letter. “Yet our research … makes us believe Foxconn is accumulating its wealth in immoral ways.”
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