Foxconn Technology Group will be improving labor conditions at the Chinese factories that assemble iPhones and iPads, Foxconn’s top executive said on Thursday. Apple will be sharing the costs of the improvements.
Foxconn chief Terry Gou did not give a figure for the costs, but the group has been spending heavily to fight a perception its vast plants in China are sweatshops with poor conditions for its million-strong labor force. It regards the criticism as unfair.
“We’ve discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength,” Gou told reporters on Thursday after the ground-breaking ceremony for a new headquarters in Shanghai.
“I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.”
It wasn’t announced if the cost would be split 50/50, or another ratio.
In February, Foxconn announced that it had raised wages for workers by 16 to 25 percent, and in late March, it announced an agreement with Apple for the hiring of thousands of new workers to reduce overtime work.
During the past two years, there has been a rash of suicides at Foxconn’s plants which make Apple products as well as devices for others, including Microsoft and Nintendo.
Apple and Foxconn agreed earlier this year to improve conditions for workers assembling Apple products.