While working conditions in Chinese factories have been a point of concern for quite some time, with companies like Apple, Nike, Foxconn and a host of other brands having been in the spotlight recently, Amazon has now been highlighted by New York-based China Labor Watch in a report released this weekend.
The report concludes a nine-month investigation of working conditions at a factory in Hengyang owned by Foxconn, which manufactures products for Amazon. While Amazon’s products are famous for being high-quality, low-cost alternatives to other brands, the reality of how that low price-point is achieved is quite grim, the report said.
Findings include that workers were required to work more than 100 hours of overtime per month, which is 64 hours over the legal limit. The report also notes that workers did not receive adequate safety training and a lack of fire safety in the worker dorms.
“All workers are subject to long hours and low wages,” the report stated. “As wages are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living.”
Bloomberg reports Amazon as saying, “We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn Hengyang detailing their plan to remediate the issues identified, and we are conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved.”
In the wake of the news, stocks in Foxconn were trading down. At the same time, netizens have taken to the internet to voice their outrage at the discrepency between CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth (estimated to be around US$138.8 billion) and the hourly wage of RMB 14.5 (US$2.26) that the workers are making.
Threads about the news on Reddit were trending, with one garnering some 27,000 ‘upvotes’ and almost 2.5k comments as of this writing, while Twitter was awash with concerned netizens posting news articles about the report.