“They have no other way of voicing their grievances,” said Geoffrey Crothall, communications director for China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong organization that promotes employee rights in China. “There are no formal channels of communication or ways of resolving grievances through peaceful negotiation.”
Foxconn raised minimum pay and promised in March to limit hours after an auditor hired by Apple found Foxconn employees were regularly required to work more than 60 hours a week.
That review followed a rash of suicides at Foxconn facilities _ about a dozen since 2010 _ and an explosion at the iPad-making plant in Chengdu in May 2011 that killed four employees.
Foxconn’s facilities are exceptionally large by the standards of a Chinese electronics industry in which most manufacturers employ hundreds or thousands of workers. Its flagship mainland factory in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, has 250,000 workers. The Chengdu site has 100,000 and the company has said the Zhengzhou factory might eventually employ 300,000.
Foxconn also has faced criticism in the past over the conduct of its security guards.
In 2010, Foxconn’s parent, Hon Hai, pledged its guards would obey the law and refrain from using threats or harassment after a videotape showing several beating workers was circulated on the Internet.
Foxconn employees have complained about what some critics call “military-style management.”
“Workers are expected to obey their manager at all times, not to question but simply do what they are told,” said Crothall. “That atmosphere is not conducive to a happy or contented workforce. It’s a very dehumanizing way of treating workers.”
AP researcher Flora Ji contributed.
Foxconn Technology Group: www.foxconn.com
China Labor Bulletin: http://www.clb.org.hk
China Labor Watch: www.chinalaborwatch.org
Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour: http://www.sacom.hk
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