Hong Kong, 30 May 2013

Foxconn should keep its promise; we need no fake trade unions

This is the fourth year of Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) and other local organizations to come to the Annual General Meeting of Foxconn International Holdings Limited to protest against Foxconn’s maltreatment of workers and its broken promise of trade union democratization.

On 4 February 2013, Financial Times reported Foxconn would start trade union democratization in its Chinese factories with the assistance of Fair Labor Association (FLA). “The new generation migrant workers concern programme” research team conducted a research of Foxconn trade union between this March and April[1]. The team found that 90.2% of Foxconn workers knew nothing about the trade union election; 94.7% of them had never participated the election in any form. On 6 May, while answering enquiry from Securities Daily (證券日報), a Chinese newspaper, about the trade union election, Foxconn spokesperson stated clearly that “union election is never on Foxconn’s agenda”. The Foxconn promise is only for window-dressing, Foxconn deliberately ignore the workers’ expectation on Foxconn trade union reform.

On 16 May, FLA released the Second Verification Status Report. The report tells ambiguously about the union re-elections or interim elections in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu factories from late 2012 to early 2013 and “the percentage of worker representative has increased”. It does not give the public a clear picture of the election method and procedure.

Moreover, the report claims that “significant progress in reducing (working) hours to 60 per week (including overtime) consistent with FLA and Apple’s code standards”. According to SACOM’s investigation, this “significant progress” can be made in such a short period of time because Foxconn changed the overtime compensation into “reward” payment to workers. It is only a game of words. Foxconn workers’ overtime situation is still very severe.

SACOM emphasizes the workers’ rights to freedom of association as entitled by the China’s Trade Union Law. Trade unions should be wholly run by workers, to protect their rights to negotiate and communicate with employers on an equal footing. It should never be an annex to the employers to control workers. Foxconn should let workers participate in trade unions immediately!

SACOM strongly urges Foxconn to:

  1. start genuine democratic trade union election immediately and should increase election transparency and allow the public to monitor the election method and procedure;
  2. implement true overtime work control and stop the game of words;
  3. offer workers living wage to sustain reasonable life quality of workers and their families;
  4. handle  worker’s complaints and feedbacks seriously;
  5. abolish military-style management;
  6. practice occupational safety and health in workplace to secure workers production safety.


Appendix: Recent Foxconn incidents

Suicides

Foxconn Zhengzhou, Henan

2013.05.14 – A 30-year-old married man jumped off from the building

2013.04.27 – A 23-year-old woman jumped off from the building

2013.04.24 – A 24-year-old man jumped off from the building

Foxconn Chengdu, Sichuan

2012.06.13 – A man surnamed Xie jumped off from the building

 

Foxconn Yantai, Shandong

2012.01.01 – A man surnamed Jia jumped off from the building

Strike

2012.10.05- Foxconn Zhengzhou, Henan

Over 3,000 workers participated the strike due to the overstress after serious complaints of Apple iPhone 5 product quality. Conflicts sparked between workers and quality checkers. Finally the quality checkers started their own strike which stopped numerous production lines.

Occupational Safety and Health

2011.05.20 – Blast in Foxconn Chengdu, Sichuan

One of a newly-built factory buildings of Foxconn Chengdu exploded on 20 May caused 2 dead and 16 injured, in which 3 of them are seriously injured.

 

Reference:


1. 關注新生代農民工計劃」項目組(2013),富士康工會調研報告:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9wit2kmt26dxjb0/gOyWcFgD77/2013.05.01%20-%20Foxconn%20union%20research%20report%20-%20Chinese%20version.pdf

2. English translation excerpts of The report on Foxconn trade union research: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qzwo85nzly5u8wh/2013.05.01%20-%20English%20excerpt%20on%20Foxconn%20union%20research%20report.pdf

3. “Explosion at Foxconn is not Accidental” (2011):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0HMoqOOR90


[1] “The new generation migrant workers concern programme” research team was formed by a group of scholars and students from China and Hong Kong. The interview was conducted in questionnaire between 15 March and 7 April 2013 in Foxconn Shenzhen and Foxconn Wuhan. A total of 685 valid questionnaires were collected and the report “The report on Foxconn trade union research” was released on 1 May 2013 in Beijing.