Amazon Echo factory workers were being paid 'less than half' living wage


An investigative report by China Labor Watch (CLW) claims Amazon's Hengyang Foxconn factory has violated a number of worker's rights.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn Technology Group and one of the world's largest and most successful manufacturing companies, is a company not exactly short of a bob or two: In the last couple of years it has paid out billions of pounds to acquire Sharp and Belkin while also pledging to open a USA factory in Wisconsin.

The factory, in the city of Hengyang, produces Amazon's Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers.

It found workers putting in more overtime hours than permitted by Chinese labor law, which limits overtime to 36 hours per month.

On top of this, Hengyang workers were paid considerably less than those at other Foxconn factories.

Temporary workers were paid just 14.5 Yuan (£1.69) an hour, including overtime.

Foxconn, a consumer electronics manufacturer, said it's "aware" of the report and is conducting a "full investigation".

A United States watchdog group has criticized Amazon and contract manufacturer Foxconn over what it described as harsh working conditions at a China factory that makes Amazon's Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers, Reuters reports. Majority were working 14 hour weeks without a single day off and had to ask for permission to visit the restroom.

Amazon responded to the report in an emailed statement that clarified that the company had already conducted an inspection of this factory in March.

All workers at the plant put in as much as 100 overtime hours during peak seasons, and the group found instances when workers had to work 14 days in a row. A 94-page report details poor working conditions barely two months after reports of strict rules restricting breaks at Amazon's United Kingdom fulfillment centers emerged. Amazon is now conducting regular assessments to monitor implementation and compliance with its supplier code of conduct, it said.

In its statement, Foxconn said salary reviews "are conducted regularly and we ensure that we offer all employees remuneration that exceeds statutory requirements and that is competitive with our industry peers".

The Labour Watch survey discovered that over 40 per cent at the factory supplying Amazon were dispatch workers, backing up Amazon's own investigations earlier in the year.

When Foxconn made headlines in 2010 following a spate of worker suicides at a Shenzhen factory that makes iPhones, it was probably the first time many people in the West had heard of the manufacturing contractor giant. "If infractions are identified, we work to immediately rectify them", it said.