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12 June 2018, 08:25 | Hattie Nash
Amazon Factories in China Unsafe for Workers: Report
The China Labor Watch found workers earn about £233 a month, less than half the national living wage of £530, calculated for China by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance.
Amazon has been accused of poor working conditions in Chinese factories building Kindle and Echo smart speakers.
China Labor Watch added that around 40 per cent of the plant's staff were dispatch workers, around 10 per cent higher than the limit dictated by Chinese law.
"In addition, sick leave is unpaid for dispatch workers, and they are regularly sent on leave during the factory's off season", the authors write. The temporary workers are further claimed to receive no overtime pay, being paid a flat rate of $2.26 an hour regardless of how long they have been working and dropping to $2.11 if they miss more than two days of work, and do not receive social insurance or housing contributions - the former being a requirement under Chinese labour law.
"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", the report stated. Foxconn told Reuters it is carrying out its own investigation and will rectify any misconduct it finds.
"Other major issues at the factory include inadequate fire safety in the dormitory area, lack of sufficient protective equipment, absence of a functioning labor union at the factory, and strict management who subject workers to verbal abuse", the report states.
But now a U.S. watchdog group, China Labor Watch, has alleged fresh worker violations and harsh working conditions at the Foxconn factory in Hunan province.
Amazon said it found two of the violations-excessive overtime and use of agency staff-during an audit of the factory in March. Kara Hartnett Hurst, Amazon's head of worldwide sustainability replied and said that they will ensure the well-being of the factory workers. Amazon is now conducting regular assessments to monitor implementation and compliance with its supplier code of conduct, it said.
China's largest electronics manufacturer and employer has been criticised in the past for poor working conditions at factories where Apple devices were made, leading to the company installing safety netting to prevent worker suicides. "I hope that you can compel your suppliers to improve their working situations and to manufacture Amazon products under ethical conditions".
It said it is monitoring Foxconn's response and "compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are committed to ensuring these issues are resolved".
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.
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