Apple-Foxconn: Controversial factory raised wages 16-25% in February

By on February 17, 2012, 5:30 PM

In its third raise for workers since 2010, Foxconn has decided to increase employee wages by another 16-25%. The company stated that a junior worker could now expect 1,800 Yuan ($285) per month and those with completed technical exams under their belts will receive as much as 2,200 Yuan ($349).

This elevation of worker compensation took effect at the beginning of February, which seems like fortunate timing for both Foxconn and Apple as Fair Labor Association (FLA) inspectors have since begun auditing the conditions of Foxconn's facilities. The inspections are a result mounting pressure for Apple to act responsibly in the wake of worker abuse, injuries, protests and even suicides.

Apple is the first technology company to join the FLA, an organization dedicated to ensuring the proper treatment of outsourced workers. There is little doubt this move was to help soften public ire regarding the recent onslaught of negative press.

The FLA's preliminary snooping in Foxconn's iPad factory has revealed surprisingly positive work conditions. The organization's President, Auret van Heerden, described the plant as "first-class" and "way, way above average". He went on to say the environment was relatively low-intensity and workers do not seem unhappy.

Keep in mind that Van Heerden's comparison is based upon the bar set by other Chinese manufacturers, which may not meet Western ideals of "first-class". Also, let us not forget the official inspection may vary from preliminary observations, so we'll have to wait for the final results before meaningful conclusions can be drawn.

Wage increases are not uncommon for Foxconn and certainly welcomed by Foxconn employees. Merely three years ago, junior workers were paid as little as 900 Yuan. Fast forward to 2012 and wages have effectively doubled. Are better times ahead for outsourced workers?

User Comments: 16

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LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Are better times ahead for outsourced workers? Yes probably but compared to what? They're still being paid a drop in the bucket.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

These people deserve $1000 a month considering how much their energy has been milked by big fat corps :S

Xero07 said:

3k-4k a year at ridiculous hours, still sad.

Guest said:

screw the chinese, raise wages in the USA

Mindwraith said:

Guest said:

screw the chinese, raise wages in the USA

oh yes, because that would be so good for the crippled US economy right now.. >_>

PinothyJ said:

Guest said:

screw the chinese, raise wages in the USA

I get paid $21 an hour to help people pick out the right laptop for them; it must suck to be you...

davislane1 davislane1 said:

LinkedKube said:

Are better times ahead for outsourced workers? Yes probably but compared to what? They're still being paid a drop in the bucket.

Comparatively they are actually doing pretty well. 1,800-2,000 yuan wage seems like a pittance in the article, but that's equivalent to $30,000-$40,000 a year U.S. (approximately). The problem isn't the money... It's the abuse that tends to go on that's the issue.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Yeah but the majority of us work 40 hour weeks in the States. How many do they work?

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Hence my mention of work place abuse that Foxconn has become infamous for. Officially, China has a 40-hour work week, which is about the mean internationally. So on paper the numbers still look good. The problem isn't the pay, it's how the management in the factories force the workers into OT without proper compensation.

Jos Jos said:

@davislane1 where did you get that $30,000-$40,000 per year figure? According to the article they are making between $285 and $350 per month, which is still above the country's minimum wage, but amounts to ~4k per year

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Purchasing power/cost of living. The actual dollar amount isn't what's important, it's what the money can do inside its home economy that matters. $285-$350 is not a whole lot of income in the United States, but in China it carries significant weight when used for domestic goods, making it the equivalent of a higher wage rate in the U.S.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Considering how Apple Products are overpriced, they could at least pull their wage up even more, to around $400-$500 montly. Its not like Apple will go bust or start loosing money because of that >.>

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

@davislane1: seems right. But what about the quality of certain products of which we know won't last like products that are build with high quality in mind. If they where to buy products made in the U.S. or from Europe they wouldn't be able to with a low income like that unless the products were second-hand. So they would rely only on their home made products. You can't for example compare these two cars in build quality: A honda or ford vs. a Cherry (in China) or GreatWall (in China). And second of all, the money they get is enough to only be used in China itself. That means the money they get from abroad, stays in China, because they can't afford stuff build in Europe and America unless they save up for a period of time =p

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Yup. I just checked iPad 2 prices according to an article from May 9, 2011 which stated the Apple iPad 2 16G/WiFi release price of 3,688 Yuan, which means that the low level guys have to work slightly over 2 months to be able to afford one. How about that? I do agree about the domestic goods created solely for the domestic market being affordable, but anything manufactured for abroad is really not that affordable.

Guest said:

Now i want to cry...We work 48+ Hours a week in my country, Colombia ;(...shitty country of mine.

MilwaukeeMike said:

igotdembombs said:

This is a step in the right direction. I'm glad that even though public scrutiny hasn't affected Apple's profits, Apple has decided to be less evil.

We dont' know how Apple pays Foxconn. I'd expect there's a contract that says Foxconn will make x number of iPads for x amount of money. If Apple gets some pressure to improve conditions and then in turn pressures Foxconn to do, there's no reason to expect Apple is paying for it.

The next contract might be different, but I would guess that these raises don't come out of Apple's pocket.

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