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Foxconn Raises May Not Boost Worker Income
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 08 July 2010 18:21

From Information Week

Employees at the China manufacturer say overtime restrictions and workload increases mean they are actually working more and earning less after a 33% base salary hike.
On the surface, salary increases recently handed out by the Foxconn Technology Group to assembly line and base-level workers at its southern China manufacturing plant were unusually high.

But underneath, a much deeper tale is unfolding.

Induced by a string of suicides at its Shenzhen plant, Foxconn, China's largest electronics contract manufacturer -- and supplier to the likes of Apple, Dell, HP, and Sony -- increased its basic wage by one-third to $177 per month, and says it will raise it again to $295 for employees that pass a three-month assessment period.


But Foxconn's move, which helped ease pressure from activists around the world critical of its low pay and work-camp-like conditions, may actually be the driving force behind the company's plans for the future and also put the ball in its competitors' court.

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Foxconn's decision set off a wave of new salary demands and even strikes in the Pearl River Delta region. In one such instance, workers at a Honda factory in Guangdong's Foshan got a 35% pay hike after striking for two weeks.

"Other people have had such high salary rises. If our factory doesn't have its own salary rise, next month I'll quit," said an employee surnamed Cao at a cosmetics company in Guangzhou.

But this fails to fully address the reality of what is happening in the region, with some workers at the Foxconn plant claiming the salary hikes were simply window dressing.

A worker surnamed Zhang started at Foxconn in April and earned $280 for the month. In June, however, restrictions on overtime meant he pulled in just $192, and he also said Foxconn had increased his workload.

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