Amazon has been accused of poor working conditions in Chinese factories building Kindle and Echo smart speakers. A 94-page report details poor working conditions barely two months after reports of strict rules restricting breaks at Amazon’s UK fulfillment centers emerged.
The report compiled by New York-based labor watchdog China Labor Watch claims workers putting together Echo speakers and Kindles among other Amazon hardware are forced to work over 100 hours of overtime every month. It adds that these workers are offered low pay in exchange for their overtime at the facility in Hengyang, China. The report states that workers worked 14 consecutive days during the peak season. The facility in question is owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry, widely known as Foxconn, which also builds iPhone for Apple.
The report is based on a nine-month investigation that concluded in April. It found workers putting in more overtime hours than permitted by Chinese labor law, which limits overtime to 36 hours per month. The report also highlights how wages are deducted as penalty when these workers take leave or “unexcused absences.” The workers are also reportedly subjected to verbal abuse at Amazon‘s manufacturing facility.
The report also notes other legal violations at the facility. It claims over 40 percent of the staff at the facility are temporary staff who receive just 8 hours of training before they start their work. This is not in compliance with Chinese laws which allows for only 10 percent of dispatch workers and mandates at least 24 hours of safety training.
“Amazon takes reported violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct extremely seriously. In the case of the Foxconn Hengyang factory, Amazon completed its most recent audit in March 2018 and identified two issues of concern. We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn Hengyang detailing their plan to remediate the issues identified, and we are conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement.
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This is not the first time that a factory owned by Hon Hai has been accused of poor working conditions such as low wage and long working hours. There have been multiple reports of suicides committed by Chinese workers at these facilities and Foxconn has come under government radar following instance of riots and suicides. The Taiwan-based contract manufacturer has also been found engaging in child labor to help manufacture newest iPhone X models.