Audit Finds That Foxconn Workers Are Laboring Under Crappy Conditions

While it turned out that monologuist Mike Daisey made up a bunch of stuff about working conditions at Foxconn, that doesn’t mean that things there are all sunshine and roses. A recent labor audit found the giant Chinese manufacturer has working conditions that need a whole heck of a lot of improvement.

The Washington Post says the audit from the Fair Labor Association points out numerous problems, and Foxconn has pledged to improve pay and working conditions in its factories as a result. Most high-tech companies in the United States use Foxconn to produce their gadgets, including Apple’s iPads, Microsoft’s Xbox, and PCs from Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

The audit found that more than half of the employees at Foxconn’s assembly plants for Apple worked more than the limit of 60 hours per week, as set by Apple. Many also worked seven days in a row without a 24-hour break.

The group also found hazardous working conditions at the plant. Apple requested the report in January amidst a firestorm of controversy over how their products are made and a spate of worker suicides. The report comes on the heels of a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who toured Foxconn this week, and the company says they’re going to clean things up.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the company agrees with the findings and will work to implement its recommendations, including reducing worker hours.

“We think empowering workers and helping them understand their rights is essential,” Dowling said, adding that Apple is working to make its supply chain “a model for the industry.”

However, complying with those findings will probably mean companies will have to shell out more dough for extra workers so that they can continue to meet with consumer demand. That could lead to higher prices on products — but considering the outcry over how those gadgets are made, we’re sure ponying up a few more bucks for your shiny bit of status will be just fine. Right? Right.

Labor audits find poor working conditions at Apple factories [Washington Post]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.