Foxconn, leading iPad manufacturer, hikes wages of Chinese workers

Taiwan-based technology firm Foxconn has promised to boost wages of workers at its factories in China by up to 25%.

Story highlights

  • Foxconn Technology Group is Apple's largest supplier of iPads and iPhones
  • The Taiwan-based company says it's hiking the wages of assembly line workers in China
  • Foxconn has been under scrutiny for working conditions at its plants in Shenzhen, China

The largest supplier of Apple's iPads and iPhones said Saturday that it increased wages by up to 25% for workers at its factories in China.

The announcement by Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group follows reports the company's Chinese-based factories were under scrutiny over questionable labor practices.

Wages for assembly line workers at Foxconn's Chinese plants were increased by 16% to 25%, far exceeding China's government-mandated minimum monthly compensation levels in Shenzhen, the statement said.

The base pay for workers who have successfully completed a probation period jumps to 2200 to 2500 RMB ($349 to $397) a month, Foxconn said. The state-minimum is 1500 RMB (about $238).

Additionally, Foxconn said it was taking steps to reduce overtime at the Chinese factories.

Foxconn's wage increases comes on the heels of the arrival this week of an independent labor-rights organization, which included Apple representatives, at the vast Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, known as Foxconn City.

The team plans to interview thousands of employees in Shenzhen and other locations about their working and living conditions, including their compensation and working hours, according to the Fair Labor Association.

The audit comes amid growing public concern about labor conditions in the overseas factories that many U.S. gadget makers rely on to make their devices. Apple is one of many companies that outsources its manufacturing, but as the industry's most popular and profitable company, it's under the most intense spotlight.

Foxconn, one of Apple's largest critical suppliers, has drawn the harshest criticism from labor activists.

A spate of suicides at the company's factories in 2010 garnered media coverage of alleged harsh working conditions, including unsafe facilities and illegal amounts of overtime.

A story published late last month by The New York Times documented the human toll of a Foxconn plant explosion that killed several workers.

Apple has conducted its own supplier audits since 2006, and releases some of its findings on its website.

Its latest report, released last month, detailed nearly two dozen labor and human rights violations, including the use of underage workers.

In more than 100 facilities, excessive work hours were "commonplace," according to Apple's report, and most of those plants failed to pay proper overtime wages.

Two facilities were deemed repeat offenders, and Apple cut ties with one of them.

Partnering with the Fair Labor Association for independent assessments is a new step for Apple, which has said that its suppliers have promised unrestricted access and full cooperation.

The FLA plans to conduct similar inspections this spring at two more Apple suppliers, Quanta and Pegatron.