Last week wasn’t exactly the best of time for Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry’s subsidiary Foxconn, to put it nicely. The electronics manufacturer, which manufactures products for Apple, Sony, Nokia, Nintendo, Microsoft, Dell, HP, and others came under intense criticism after a massive new study was released, chronicling vast abuse of employees.
Foxconn appears to be growingly at odds with China’s ruling communist party. The government-controlled, Beijing-based Global Times leaked the report according to The New York Observer.
The study, carried out by 60 teachers and students from 20 Universities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, depicts hellish working conditions at the electronics giant’s factories. Of the 1,736 workers surveyed, 54.6 percent felt wronged by management and 38 percent claimed the company invaded their privacy (most workers live in cities run by the company).
But most shocking, 16.4 percent — roughly 284 of the respondents — report experiencing “some kind of corporal violence” at the hands of the company’s army of security personnel. This illustrates that the video of guards beating a Foxconn worker might not have been an isolated incident, but rather a more frequent occurrence.
The report also highlights how the company is making interns work longer than the 8 hour shifts they signed on for a day. And it provides its interns no medical benefits, so if they’re among the many workers injured on the line daily, they have to pay for their own treatment. The report also revealed that Foxconn lied about raising employees’ pay 30 percent, with the average raise only amounting to 9.1 percent.
Foxconn issued a response this week that can be summed up in two words — complete denial.
The manufacturer says it “categorically rejects” the report and insists that its 937,000+ employees work under “safe and positive” working conditions. The company writes in the press release, “We are responding to the media coverage because we believe it is important to correct these unsubstantiated allegations which many media outlets are treating as facts without giving our company an opportunity to present our side of the issue.”
Terry Gou, Foxconn’s CEO, has been trying to promote the notion that his company is a humane workplace. A couple months ago he invited reporters to the suicide-prone Shenzhen factory, showing off an Olympic-sized swimming pool and other perks.
Meanwhile suicides at the company continue, despite the company doing everything from recruiting Buddhist monks to making employees sign letters promising not to kill themselves.
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