Recent Testimony from Workers at Zhengzhou Foxconn

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recent news has reported that the base monthly salary of official workers in Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory has risen to 2,000 RMB ($312.5) beginning on August 1, whereas the salary used to be 1,800 RMB ($281.3). Since the beginning of July, Foxconn Zhengzhou has been assembling the iPhone 5. Given the production demands associated with such an order, the workers still have excessive overtime hours every month, working 20 or more hours of overtime per week. Some workers will only get two or three days off per month; line and team leaders will only get one day off.

Moreover, there are also student-interns under 18 years old in the Zhengzhou factory. Such a situation, in fact, is prevalent in other Foxconn factories, such as those in Huai’an, Chongqing, and Taiyuan Foxconn. A line leader we interviewed told our investigator that there were 10 student-interns between the ages of 16 and 18 assigned to his production line.

The following is the original message he sent on September 10, 2012:

I passed by the female dorm building and saw a group of female students quarreling with their teacher. They were all young. I heard one student crying, “I want to go back to school. I don’t want to work here anymore! Why do you force us to work in this remote place!” The schools always send student workers in the afternoon, so even if the female students want to leave, it would be too late. Today is Teacher’s Day. I don’t want to say bad things about teachers, but I can’t help cursing them.

The following is a worker’s testimony about the status of their working conditions after Apple alleged Foxconn had improved its Chinese labor conditions:

I am a current worker at Foxconn (Zhengzhou). In fact, all the reports of increasing wages and reducing working hours are deceptive.

1. Wages are low. Though wages are seemingly increasing, they are actually decreasing. The monthly base salary is now [in July] 1,550 RMB ($242.2). After deducting for meal, accommodation, and social insurance fees of 420RMB ($65.9), 110 RMB ($17.2), and 180 RMB ($28.1), respectively, the average monthly income is now 2,100 RMB ($328.1).
[In August, the factory raised the base salary of new workers to 1800 RMB ($284) and of veteran workers to 2000 RMB ($316),but we don’t yet know the total salary after overtime and deductions are accounted for.]

2. Management is abrasive. Management verbally abuse workers and reduce some workers’ overtime hours on purpose [so that they work less hours and get lower pay).

3. The rate of work is intense. We workers have to complete the work load of what before was 11 hours (or sometimes up to 14 hours)in only 10 hours.

4. The management of the dorms use room keys to check workers’ rooms, including personal lockers, at their own will without permission of the workers.

5. Unlawful deduction of wages. The break time of workers is used as time for work preparation. Also, workers are kept after work to have meetings in which workers are scolded by management, the occupied time also not being calculated into wages.

In August, the worker provided China Labor Watch with an update on iPhone 5 production:

We are now producing the iPhone 5. We 87 workers have to assemble 3,000 phones per day, and as our team leader told us, after the new iPhone goes public, we will need to assemble 6,500 phones per day. We are now working more than 10 hours a day. There are many student workers in our production line, all of whom are around 18 years old. They've been complaining and demanding to go back to school but are never allowed.