With all the controversy surrounding Apple’s supply chains abroad, Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest partners responsible for assembling the majority of its products, has received the brunt of criticisms. We already know what the Taipei-based assembler thought about Mike Daisey’s fabrications of working conditions at Foxconn plants, but today we get another first hand account from an actual Foxconn employee.
A report from China Business News (via MIC Gadget) profiled Foxconn worker and iPad assembler Wang Xiaoqiao (who opted to hide his real name). According to Wang, iPad line workers are beginning to work fewer hours and get more days off as supply meets demand. Wang said iPad production was ramped up in March, bringing assembly time from 10 hours a day down to 8 hours. However, he is not happy about working less. Wang explained:
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“The new iPad production started earlier this year, with one class of workers at each assembly line. Nearly 1,000 units will be mass-produced in a standard shift of 8 hours, plus 2 hours of overtime work. 150 – 180 units were produced during a peak iPad production run in February. However, in March, iPad employees worked fewer hours, and sometimes regular weekday shifts could not be archived… My base pay is 2,350 yuan, and I need to pay 190 yuan for social security tax, 120 yuan for housing fund, 110 yuan for accommodation fee, and some money on having meals. I’m going through a difficult time for this month,”
While this might sound like a positive thing for a company often accused of making its employees work excessive hours, Wang said he is not happy about making less money and the lack of bonuses for overtime:
Wang is actually upset about it, since working fewer hours means no bonus pay. Last month, Wang worked six days a week, and got a day off. Today, he gets 3 days off, and work for only 4 days in a week. He was planning to buy new furniture by doing overtime work for more pay, but that seems to be impossible now.
Despite all the controversies surrounding the working conditions at Foxconn, we have heard repeatedly about stories of workers who complain about losing hours or overtime. Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan noted in a recent story about “the real Foxconn” that he found worker’s “biggest gripe” was not being able to work longer:
“The biggest gripe, which surprised us somewhat, is that they don’t get enough overtime. They wanted to work more, to get more money.”