Unhappy with reduced hours, Foxconn workers argue salary doesn’t cover basic needs

Following yesterday’s findings of the Fair Labor Association’s investigation into Apple’s supply chain, a report out this morning claims Foxconn workers are now concerned about their work hours being cut because they think the move will lead to lower wages.

Per FLA’s recommendations, Foxconn and Apple have reduced excessive work times to 49 hours a week, including overtime. The two partners have also tweaked salaries, a move they claim ensures workers don’t earn less amid reduced working hours.

But despite these long-overdue policy changes being put in place, Foxconn workers are not entirely convinced…

Reuters has the story:

But at the Foxconn factory gates, many workers seemed unconvinced that their pay wouldn’t be cut along with their hours. For some Chinese factory workers – who make much of their income from long hours of overtime – the idea of less work for the same pay could take getting used to.

The news gathering organization quoted Wu Jun, a 23-year-old employee from Hunan province in south China:

We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money.

Another one by Chen Yamei, a 25-yer-old worker from Hunan:

We are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important. We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little,” she added. Chen said she now earned a bit over 4,000 yuan a month ($634).

Unfortunately, the otherwise pretty communist regime in China does not allow independent labour unions to be created so Foxconn workers are essentially being left out in the cold.

A man’s gotta make a living and it’s understandable that young people working at Foxconn plants are afraid of reduced working hours eating into their paychecks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly two-thirds of Foxconn workers say salary doesn’t cover basic needs. Most of Foxconn employees in Apple’s supply chain come from rural parts of the 1.33 billion people country to work at Shenzen plants, trying to help their families bring bacon to the table.

Adding fuel to fire, Foxconn on its part announced plans to hire tens of thousands of new employees to counter productivity impact due to reduced working hours.

If you were a Foxconn worker, I bet you’d panic, too.