Amazon is facing a recent report regarding unsatisfactory working conditions at a factory run by one of their suppliers in Hengyang, China. In recent statements, Amazon is claiming that it had warned the supplier to have the factory clean up their act. Reports stated that appalling working conditions, and gross mistreatment of employees were witnessed when under observation by watchdog group, China Labor Watch.
Amazon stated that it had found “two issues of concern” at the Foxconn factory earlier this year . The noted concerns involved mistreatment of dispatch workers, by denying them their overtime pay. Amazon spokesman Ty Rogers would not respond to any further details about the abuse claims. (Source: CNNMoney.com, “Amazon said it pushed for Chinese factory for reforms before report published”)
Their admission of guilt comes directly following an investigation by Labor Watch, a U.S. based watchdog group. The Guardian’s local newspaper, The Observer, picked up the story containing details of working conditions, at the factory, where Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers are made.
The investigation by Labor Watch took place between August 2017 and April 2018, and was published on China’s labor website on Sunday.
The alleged misconduct included multiple violations of Chinese Labor Laws at the factory. It describes a working atmosphere where overtime compensation was often neglected and 60 hour workweeks were the norm during peak seasons.
“Amazon’s profits have come at the expense of workers who labor in appalling working conditions and have no choice but to work excessive overtime hours to sustain a livelihood,” the report states.
During an audit in March, Amazon noted findings of impropriety regarding treatment of workers and requested a corrective plan of action from Foxconn Hengyang, in which the company would make a detailed plan to restore the working conditions to Amazon’s standards.
Amazon also stated that it conducts regular assessments of their suppliers, to make sure they are properly implementing compliance with Amazon’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
If these allegations are found to be accurate, immediate actions will be put in place to bring the factories operations into compliance with Amazon’s code of conduct, Amazon made clear in a publicly issued statement.
Foxconn is an electronics manufacturer, they made a statement that they will be conducting a full investigation into these claims.
The reports state that those who did work overtime hours were not paid time and a half, which is a requirement by law. However, in its statement Foxconn said salary reviews “are conducted regularly and we ensure that we offer all employees remuneration that exceeds statutory requirements, and that is competitive with our industry peers.” “Such remuneration includes basic wages, payments for any overtime work, housing and other allowances, and other financial incentives and bonuses,” the company said.
However, the China Labor Watch report stated that although the working conditions were different for regular and dispatch workers, all employees were subjected to long hours and low pay.
The report detailed that FoxConn’s Hengyang factory earned an average monthly wage that was close to half of what other workers in the same city made in 2017.
The other noted issues at the factory included lack of required protective equipment, sub par fire safety dormitory areas, strict management who often verbally abused the workers and a complete lack of a functioning labor union.