Foxconn changes are coming. The largest electronics manufacturer in the world had the eye of the world on it after numerous employees committed suicide while others died of being overworked. Apple partnered with the Fair Labor Association to help improve working conditions at the factories where the iPhone and iPad are built. The FLA suggested improvements are now being implemented.
Bloomberg reports that Foxconn has cut working hours and improved safety. The changes are part of a larger 15-month plan that will see working conditions improve at Foxconn facilities. The FLA is overseeing the changes and making sure that everything matches up with Chinese labor regulations.
At the FLA's suggestion, Foxconn will be cutting working hours to 49 a week. They will also raise wages and give employees more say within the company. The changes are expected to come into effect by July 2013. The FLA says that Foxconn is ahead of schedule in implementing the changes so Chinese workers may be getting more perks before the end of the year.
The changes are welcome, but it seems that conditions at Foxconn may not have improved all that much. China Labor Watch told Bloomberg that Foxconn employees are still required to complete the same amount of work even after the hours had been reduced. Unfortunately, employees have to work much harder to meet their quota which can result in mistakes due to low satisfaction among employees.
One good thing that may come out of all of this is a desire to improve working conditions all across Asia. It took the Foxconn suicides to show people that working conditions aren't all that great across China and Southeast Asia, but there are worse working conditions at lesser known manufacturers. Maybe the attention will now shift to other manufacturers in worse off countries like Malaysia or Indonesia.