Apple’s manufacturing arm in China is making a PR push, saying on Friday that they have raised the wages of their workers by 16-25% this month.
“As a top manufacturing company in China, the basic salary of junior workers in all of Foxconn’s China factories is already far higher than the minimum wage set by all local governments,” the company said in a statement. “We will provide more training opportunities and learning time, and will continuously enhance technology, efficiency and salary, so as to set a good example for the Chinese manufacturing industry.”
A junior level worker in a Foxconn factory has been raised to 1,800 yuan a month, which is about $290. They say that the salary can even be raised to 2,200 yuan a month if the worker “passes a technical examination.”
Apple has been under fire recently due to some troubling reports about working conditions at Foxconn. First, there were reports of worker suicides and narrowly-avoided suicides at some plants. Then, investigations into the treatment of workers at the plant by some, including the New York Times, noted long working hours without breaks, safety issues, and other concerns for worker health. A former Foxconn manager spoke out, saying that “Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook denied that Apple condoned the mistreatment of workers, saying that “any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.”
Apple announced earlier this week that they were partnering up with the Fair Labor Association to begin conducting a series of audits into Foxconn facilities. Surprisingly, initial reports from the FLA suggest that the conditions at some part of the factories at least were “above average.”
So Foxconn raised wages by quite a bit – I mean, a 25%(or even 16% for that matter) raise is gigantic. But for a low-level worker, $3,500 a year is not exactly rolling in it.