Rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over poor China labor conditions

China Labor Watch cited excessive hours and low wage at Foxconn’s Hengyang Foxconn plant in Hunan province, which makes Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker and Kindle e-reader. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Rights group hits Amazon, Foxconn over poor China labor conditions

NEW YORK: A US watchdog group criticized Amazon.com and contract manufacturer Foxconn over what it described as harsh working conditions at a plant in China that makes the retail giant’s Echo Dot smart speaker and Kindle e-reader.
The 94-page report by New York-based China Labor Watch cited excessive hours, low wages, inadequate training and an overreliance on “dispatch” or temporary workers in violation of Chinese law at the Hengyang Foxconn plant in Hunan province.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and employs more than a million people.
Foxconn, which also makes Apple Inc. iPhones, came under fire in 2010 for a spate of suicides at plants in China. Foxconn pledged to improve working conditions.
China Labor Watch said its nine-month investigation found that about 40 percent of workers at the plant were dispatch workers, far exceeding the 10 percent limit under Chinese law. Dispatch workers were paid at the same rate for regular and overtime hours, rather than time and a half as required, said China Labor Watch Program Officer Elaine Lu.
“They were underpaid,” Lu said. “That’s illegal.”
Dispatch workers earned 14.5 yuan ($2.26) per hour, the report said. Workers also put in more than 100 overtime hours per month during peak season, far more than the 36 hours allowed by law, and some worked for 14 consecutive days.
Amazon said in a statement it audited the factory in March and found “two issues of concern.”
“We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn,” Amazon said, adding it is monitoring Foxconn’s response and “compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved.”
Amazon did not say what the issues were or whether they had been addressed.
Foxconn said in an emailed statement that it “works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations” where it operates and conducts regular audits. “If infractions are identified, we work to immediately rectify them,” it said.


Uber to appeal Singapore’s competition watchdog decision on Grab deal

Updated 7 min 40 sec ago
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Uber to appeal Singapore’s competition watchdog decision on Grab deal

  • ‘Our objective is not to challenge the remedies of the decision’
  • ‘we aim to clarify that the conclusion that our transaction with Grab led to a substantial lessening of competition’

SINGAPORE: Uber Technologies has decided to appeal a decision by the Singapore competition regulator that its merger with regional rival Grab violated the city-state’s competition laws, the firm said on Monday.
“Our objective is not to challenge the remedies of the decision, which are in fact almost identical to the commitments that Uber and Grab voluntarily offered to the CCCS (Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore),” Uber said in a statement.
“Rather, we aim to clarify that the conclusion that our transaction with Grab led to a substantial lessening of competition, and that Uber intentionally breached the law, is unsupported and incorrect,” it added.
Last month, Singapore slapped ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber with fines and finalized restrictions to open up the market to competitors after concluding that their merger had driven up prices.
Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5 percent stake in the Singapore-based firm.