Amazon Blasted by Labor Group Over China Factory Conditions

Credit Reuters

Credit Reuters

The Amazon Kindle line of e-readers is made by illegal underpaid workers at Foxconn, according to China Labor Watch. China Labour Watch goes on to describe how the workers at the factory were treated differently than the rest of the workforce, receiving no overtime wages and "very little" safety training.

Foxconn's Hengyang plant primarily manufactures Amazon products, including its Alexa-enabled speaker Echo Dot.

The tech giant's own March audit found more than 40 percent of workers were low-priced agency staffers - who do not receive holiday or sick pay - well over the 10 percent limit allowed in Chinese factories.

On top of this, Hengyang workers were paid considerably less than those at other Foxconn factories. The 94-page China Labor Watch report found that temp workers were not paid overtime, and unlike full-time workers did not receive sufficient safety training.

"All workers are subject to long hours and low wages", according to the report.

On Monday, Foxconn said in an exchange filing it's begun its own internal investigation and will rectify any illegality it discovers.

"Amazon takes reported violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct extremely seriously", an Amazon spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement. Some staff members even worked 14 days consecutively.

"Amazon has the ability to not only ensure its supplier factories respects the rights of workers but also that there is equal pay for equal work", the watchdog group said in its report.

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As examples, the report said some workers were required to put in up to 100 hours of overtime per month when orders reach their peak.

Following those incidents, the Taiwan-based electronics giant pledged to improve working conditions at its China factories.

"We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn Hengyang detailing their plan to remediate the issues identified, and we are conducting regular assessments".

And in the UK, Amazon workers were found to use bottles in lieu of the bathroom to avoid taking too long away from the job.

In light of these allegations, Amazon has said that it completed an internal audit of the factory, and found "two issues of concern". "We are committed to ensuring these issues are resolved", the company added.

Foxconn said in an earlier statement that it "works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations" where it operates and conducts regular audits.

Now that reporting on Apple doesn't get the global attention it once did, China Labor Watch has turned its attention to poor working conditions at a Foxconn plant that makes Echo speaker and Kindle tablets for Amazon.

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