Amazon Profits from Secretly Oppressing its Supplier’s Workers: An Investigative Report on Hengyang Foxconn

( Hengyang Foxconn factory)
Executive Summary

 

From August 2017 to April 2018, China Labor Watch dispatched several investigators into Hengyang Foxconn, a factory that predominantly manufactures products for Amazon. CLW’s investigation revealed a number of rights violations at the Hengyang Foxconn factory, which manufactures Amazon’s Kindle, Echo Dots and tablets. This is CLW’s first investigation into an Amazon supplier factory.

The investigation revealed that dispatch workers made up more than 40% of the workforce, a clear violation of the legally mandated 10%. Furthermore, the working conditions between dispatch workers and regular workers were markedly different despite working the same positions.

Whilst regular workers receive five days of training, dispatch workers only receive eight hours of training, which is well below the legal stipulation of 24 hours of pre-job safety training. Dispatch workers are also required to pay the physical examination fees, whereas some regular workers reported not having to pay any fees for the physical examination.

In addition, sick leave is unpaid for dispatch workers, and they are regularly sent on leave during the factory’s off season. During this time, they do not receive any wages. Dispatch workers also do not receive any social insurance, nor are contributions made to their housing provident fund. According to the Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch, dispatch workers are to be registered for social insurance and employers are to make social insurance contributions.

Regular workers are also paid overtime wages, however, dispatch workers earn 14.5 RMB/hour ($2.26 USD) and are paid the same rate for normal hours and overtime hours. The hourly rate includes an attendance bonus, and workers who take more than two days off or are late more than twice a month would receive wages calculated by a 13.5 RMB/hour ($2.11 USD) standard for the month.

从2017年8月起至2018年4月,中国劳工观察派出多名调查员到衡阳富士康的工厂进行调查,该工厂主要生产亚马逊的产品。经中国劳工观察的调查发现,衡阳富士康工厂在生产亚马逊的Kindle电子书、Echo Dots亚马逊音响无线智能语音助手和平板电脑时,侵犯了工人的权益。这是中国劳工观察首次对亚马逊公司的供应商进行调查。

据调查显示,派遣工占了其用工总量的40%,这已明显违反了法律规定的10%。此外,派遣工和正式工的工作岗位虽然相同,但工作条件却截然不同。

正式工得到为时5天的入职培训,但派遣工却只得到仅八小时的入职培训,远低于法律要求的24小时的上岗前培训。一些正式工报告说不需要支付体检的费用,但派遣工都需自己承担体检费用。

 

此外,派遣工在病假期间无工资,还经常面临在工厂淡季被强制放假的情况,放假期间也没有工资。派遣工也没有得到任何一种社保或者住房公积金。根据劳务派遣暂行规定,雇主须为派遣工缴纳社会保险费和办理社会保险相关手续。

 

正式工有被支付加班费,然而派遣工的工资,无论是正常工作时间还是加班时间都是每小时14.5元。该小时费率包括全勤奖,请假超过两天或一个月内迟到超过两次的工人,当月的工资以每小时13.5元为标准计算。

 

虽然正式工与派遣工的工作条件存在明显的差异,但所有的工人都面对低工资和过长的工作时间。工人在旺季加班超过80个小时,还曾经有工人连续上班14天。衡阳市居民的工资平均是每月4647元,但工厂工人的工资平均每月约2000-3000元。低薪让工人不得不依靠加班来维持生活。尽管如此,工厂却用减少工人加班时间的举动作为工人请假或旷工的惩罚。

 

工厂内的其他主要问题包括宿舍区的消防安全防备不足、缺乏足够的劳保用品、工厂缺乏有效的工会、使工人遭受语言暴力的严厉管理层。

 

派遣员工的待遇问题不仅存在于富士康,也是中国工厂的典型问题之一。 以前,中国的法律没有派遣人员或临时工的专门规定, 2014年《劳务派遣暂行规定》开始实施; 然而,由于该规定的管制较宽松,而工厂又需要灵活就业的工人,使得工厂超规模使用派遣工人,以降低劳动成本。同时,因为在形式上劳务派遣公司承担与工人的合同责任,使得工厂可以推卸其在劳动场所直接侵犯劳工权益的责任。

 

亚马逊不仅有能力确保其供应商尊重工人的权利,还可以确保工人的同工同酬,但亚马逊没有做到,任其供应商压榨工人,悄悄获利,其收益是建立在处于恶劣的环境下超时工作,但为了生计而别无他法的工人身上。

 

(Dispatch workers' paystubs affixed to the factory's wall)

While there are clear distinctions in working conditions between regular workers and dispatch workers at the factory, all workers are subject to long hours and low wages. Workers put in over 100 overtime hours during peak season, and there was an instance of workers working consecutively for 14 days. The average monthly wage in Hengyang is 4,647 RMB ($725.22 USD), however, workers at the factory on average earned wages between 2000 – 3000 RMB ($312.12 – $468.19 USD) during off-season. As wages are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living. In spite of that, the factory cuts the overtime hours of workers as a form of punishment for those who take leave or have unexcused absences.

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 treatment of dispatch workers remains a key issue not only at Foxconn, but also in factories across China. Previously, labor laws in China lacked any mention of dispatch or temporary workers. The “Interim Provisions on Labor Dispatch” came into effect in 2014; however, as dispatch labor remains widely used because of its flexibility, factories continue to abdicate their legal responsibilities as a way to cut down on labor costs. With the dispatch company being contractually obligated to the worker, this allows factories to shirk responsibility for labor rights abuses. 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. Amazon’s profits have come at the expense of workers who labor in appalling working conditions and have no choice but to work excessive overtime hours to sustain a livelihood.

(Night shift workers)
(Night shift workers eating by the roadside)
Summary of Rights Violations at Hengyang Foxconn

 

  • The investigation took place during the factory’s off-season and it was discovered around 40% of the total number of workers were dispatch workers. Chinese labor law stipulates that dispatch workers must not exceed 10% of the total workforce.
  • Before starting work, dispatch workers need to pay 50 RMB ($7.86 USD) to cover physical examination fees. Some regular workers reported having to pay 60 RMB ($9.47 USD) for the physical examination, while others did not pay any fees.
  • Chinese law stipulates pre-job training to be at least 24 hours, however, dispatch workers only receive eight hours of pre-job safety training.
  • Many dispatch workers do not receive a copy of their labor contract.
  • Sick leave is unpaid for dispatch workers. Regular workers have 20% deducted from their day’s wages for sick leave.
  • Dormitories for both regular and dispatch workers do not have emergency exits. The dormitory area for dispatch workers does not have a fire extinguisher and escape routes are not labelled. Fire drills are not performed in the dormitory area.
  • Workers are required to arrive to their work positions ten minutes before their shift starts and these ten minutes are uncompensated.
  • During each month of peak production season, workers have to put in over 100 hours of overtime. However, Chinese law stipulates monthly overtime cannot exceed 36 hours. During peak season, there was an instance of workers working 14 days continuously without a day off.
  • During off-season, the factory schedules dispatch workers to go on leave, resulting in these workers having no wages. Additionally, the factory management will schedule no overtime for regular workers. Due to their low wages, by not allowing workers to work overtime, it forces workers to resign of their own volition. If workers are late, have an unexcused absence, or are on sick leave, the production line leader will also reduce their number of overtime hours. Due to a low base wage, it is a punishment for workers to not be able to work overtime during off-peak season.
  • Workers earn an hourly wage of 14.5 RMB ($2.26 USD) regardless of whether they worked normal hours or overtime hours, which includes a 1 RMB ($0.16 USD) attendance bonus. If the worker takes more than two days off or if they are late more than twice a month, their month’s wages would be calculated by a 13.5 RMB/hour ($2.11 USD) standard.
  • Workers do not earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living during off-season. During off season, on average, regular workers earn 2,000 RMB ($312.12 USD) a month and dispatch workers earn 2,500 RMB ($390.16 USD) a month. The average monthly wage in Hengyang in 2017 was 4,647 RMB ($725.22 USD)
 
(Dormitory bathroom)
(Dorm Room)
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