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Report: Illegal Overtime On Apple Assembly Line

Stocks in this article: AAPL HPQ MSFT

PETER SVENSSON

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Workers who assemble iPhones and iPads often put in more than 60 hours per week â¿¿and sometimes work for a week straightâ¿¿ in violation of Chinese law, according to the first independent labor audit of the Chinese factories where Apple products are made.

The report released Thursday by the Washington-based Fair Labor Association says Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the Taiwanese company that runs the factories, is committing to reducing weekly work time to the legal Chinese maximum of 49 hours.

That limit is routinely ignored in factories throughout China. And the FLA found that many workers at the Hon Hai factories want to work even more overtime, so they can make more money. Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, told the FLA that it will raise hourly salaries to compensate workers for the reduced hours.

Auret van Heerden, the CEO of the FLA, said that it's common to find workers in developing countries looking for more overtime, rather than less.

"They're often single, they're young, and there's not much to do, so frankly they'd just rather work and save," he said.

Average monthly salaries at the three factories inspected by the FLA ranged from $360 to $455. Foxconn recently raised salaries by up to 25 percent in the second major salary hike in less than two years.

Foxconn employs 1.2 million workers in China to assemble products not just for Apple, but for Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other pillars of the U.S. technology industry.

Workers who make Apple products have been the subject of increasing scrutiny, in part due to a one-man Broadway play by Mike Daisey. Public radio program "This American Life" used Daisey's monologue in a show about Foxconn on Jan. 6, but retracted it two weeks ago, saying that Daisey had fabricated key parts of it, including that he saw underage workers emerging from Foxconn factories.

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