AMAZON HAS ADMITTED that work carried out by one of its contractors was done under illegal working conditions.
Foxconn workers at its factory in Hengyang were making Amazon Echo and Kindle devices, where an investigation by the Observer and China Labour Watch found "unethical and illegal" conditions.
Recent tightening up of rules in the country state that only 10 percent of the workforce at any given location can be "dispatch workers" - the Chinese equivalent of agency staff.
Dispatch workers aren't entitled to holiday or sick pay, and if it goes quiet, they're the first to be laid-off without pay.
The Labour Watch survey discovered that over 40 per cent at the factory supplying Amazon were dispatch workers, backing up Amazon's own investigations earlier in the year.
Such staff were paid overtime at the normal rate, not the 1.5x rate required both by Chinese law and the Amazon code of conduct for suppliers. Some were working 80 hours overtime per month instead of the state limit of 36. It was also noted that the workers at Hengyang were being paid significantly less than workers at other Foxconn factories.
Workers were also required to ask for permission to use the toilet.
Amazon responded to the report stating: "We immediately requested a corrective action plan from Foxconn Hengyang detailing their plan to remediate the issues identified and we are conducting regular assessments to monitor for implementation and compliance with our supplier code of conduct. We are committed to ensuring these issues are resolved."
China Labour Watch used an investigator who reported on his month at the factory, talking of workings ‘slumped, exhausted over their workbenches'.
This is far from the first time that Foxconn has been found in violation of labour laws.
Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos has an estimated net worth of £83bn and is spending millions on building a 10,000-year clock into a cliff face. Affected workers were paid £233 per month, less than half the Chinese Living Wage. µ
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