Focus Shifts after Foxconn Changes

As Apple’s supplier improves labor conditions, attention moves to practices at Microsoft and Samsung.

Microsoft Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. may face greater scrutiny of their labor practices as Apple Inc.’s biggest supplier improves conditions at its Chinese plants after protests by rights activists.

Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s biggest assembler of electronics products for other companies, has cut working hours and enhanced safety, the Fair Labor Association said in its first report following an audit of three of the manufacturer’s facilities. Taipei-based Foxconn is ahead of schedule in its 15-month plan to improve working conditions, the association said.

FLA Model

“With globalization, the types of labor issues found in the apparel and sporting-goods supply chains are prevalent across all manufacturing supply chains,” said Kerstin Neuber, a spokeswoman at Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Puma. The FLA’s experience can be exported to other industries, she said.

Labor Watch

The pressure hasn’t entirely lifted from Apple. China Labor Watch said that while hours at Foxconn have been reduced to 60 or fewer per week, employees are required to complete the same amount of work as before.

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