iPad maker Foxconn lifts China workers pay again

TAIPEI Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:00pm IST

Employees work inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province in this May 26, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files

Employees work inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province in this May 26, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip/Files

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Foxconn Technology Group, the top maker of Apple Inc's iPhones and iPads whose factories are under scrutiny over labour practices, has raised wages of its Chinese workers by 16-25 percent from this month, the third rise since 2010.

In a statement on Friday, Taiwan-based Foxconn said the pay of a junior level worker in Shenzhen, southern China, had risen to 1,800 yuan per month and could be further raised above 2,200 yuan if the worker passed a technical examination.

It said that pay three years ago was 900 yuan a 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 statement said.

"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."

The announcement comes after Apple, criticised over working conditions at its sprawling chain of suppliers in China, said this week a U.S. non-profit labor group had begun an "unprecedented" inspection of working conditions at its main contract manufacturers.

Working practices at Foxconn's huge plants in China came under intense scrutiny in 2010 after a series of suicides among young workers. Last June three workers died in an explosion at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu, western China.

Last month the New York Times published an investigation into working practices at Apple supplier's plants in China that documented poor health and safety conditions and long working hours.

In response Apple said the Washington D.C.-based Fair Labor Association would monitor conditions at supplier plants beginning Feb 14.

In an interview with Reuters on Feb 15, the FLA's president said that conditions at Apple supplier plants in China were far better than those at garment factories or other facilities elsewhere in the country.

The last time Foxconn Group raised wages was in June 2010, when the pay of its Chinese workers went up by over 30 percent.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing and Helen Massy-Beresford)

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