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Amazon Under Fire For Poor Echo Factory Conditions

A labour watchdog group has called out Amazon for its poor factory conditions at its Chinese facility where Echo devices and Kindles are built.

An investigative report by China Labor Watch (CLW) claims Amazon’s Hengyang Foxconn factory has violated a number of worker’s rights.

The poor conditions range from unpaid sick leave, workers being underpaid and intense working conditions. The New York based firm has asked for Amazon to improve these conditions.

Some of the findings include, dispatch workers were taking up 40 per cent of the workforce, four times more than the legally mandated 10 per cent. It also claims the working conditions between dispatch and regular workers were markedly different despite working the same positions.

Whilst regular workers receive five days of training, dispatch workers only receive eight hours of training, which is well below the legal stipulation of 24 hours of pre-job safety training.

The report says, Chinese law stipulates pre-job training to be at least 24 hours, however, dispatch workers only receive eight hours of pre-job safety training. A number of dispatch workers do not receive a copy of their labour contract.

During each month of peak production season, workers have to put in over 100 hours of overtime. However, Chinese law stipulates monthly overtime cannot exceed 36 hours. During peak season, there was an instance of workers working 14 days continuously without a day off.

The report mentions workers do not earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living during off-season. During off season, on average, regular workers earn 2,000 RMB ($312.12 USD) a
month and dispatch workers earn 2,500 RMB ($390.16 USD) a month. The average monthly wage in Hengyang in 2017 was 4,647 RMB ($725.22 USD).

The online giant responded to these claims in an email saying it has asked for a ‘corrective action plan from Foxconn’.

Foxconn says via an exchange filing it has begun its own internal investigation.

An Echo device costs close to US$40 to build and retails in Australia from $79 for an Echo Dot.

CLW sent a number of investigators between August 2017 and April 2018 to the Hengyang Foxconn factory. This is the first investigation the CLW has made into one of Amazon’s factories.


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