Foxconn, the telecommunications manufacturer that produces products for some of the world’s digital giants, promised wage increases for its Chinese workforce of between 16 and 25 percent, Bloomberg reported today.
At the same time, a workers’ rights group inspecting the factories said it has found “tons of issues” that need addressing.
“I believe we’re going to see some very significant announcements in the near future,” Fair Labor Association CEO Auret van Heerden said.
Foxconn produces products for Apple, Nintendo and Microsoft, but is scrutinized for a high number of worker suicides.
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After Apple began to hear growing criticism about profiting from Foxconn labor, it joined FLA and agreed to supplier inspections.
Foxconn has four factories and employs more than 1 million Chinese workers.
In the last two years, wages at those factories have increased to 1,800 yuan ($290) from 900 yuan per month, CBC reported.
When inspections began earlier this week, van Heerden said he was encouraged by what he saw.
Last year, explosions in Foxconn’s aluminum polishing stations killed 3 workers and injured 70 more.
In response, Foxconn installed cutting-edge ventilation to prevent dust from building up and igniting. The process is also fully automated now, van Heerden said.
“I’ve seen the improvements that have been made, and they’re dramatic,” he said, Bloomberg reported. “The room is full of robots. It’s totally automated. But people need to see the proof.”
Up next for FLA is interviewing 35,000 Foxconn employees. The results are to be available in March.
President Bill Clinton started FLA, a non-profit group, to address sweatshop labor around the world. Among its members are Nike, Adidas and Nestle.
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