An Apple factory worker

The Fair Labor Association's report about working conditions at Foxconn, Apple's primary manufacturing partner, vouched that workers would see fewer overtime hours without a change in pay, but employees aren't convinced that they'll be able to keep the same level of income. A few workers commented at the factory gates on being allowed a maximum of 49 hours a week, including overtime.

"We are worried we will have less money to spend. Of course, if we work less overtime, it would mean less money," said Wu, a 23-year-old employee from Hunan province in south China. ... "We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little," she added. Chen said she now earned a bit over 4,000 yuan a month ($634).

Comments like this perfectly illustrate the inherent problem the western world's sudden curiosity with working conditions in China; while folks like Mike Daisey are able to make a living sensationalizing and weaving a heartbreaking story about how terrible life is working at an iPhone factory, the people who are actually there just want to make a decent wage - by the sounds of it, they don't even mind the work that much. Remember, the FLA report said that only 17.7% said they were working too much, and 33.8% said they wanted to work more in order to make more money. That said, maybe Foxconn's next move is to simply raise the hourly rates they pay rather than cutting hours on a per-worker basis.

The FLA said that they would be doing a study on cost of living around the three factories they had audited, and based on that, will be determining if wages are adequate. Here's an interview with the association's CEO, which I think gives an interesting and likely more realistic perspective on Foxconn working conditions.

Source: Reuters