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Foxconn labor conditions scrutinized at plant for Amazon speakers

Chinese workers far exceeded overtime cap making Echo devices: report

Foxconn factory workers in China in 2012. The company faces overwork reports stemming from a plant making Amazon Echo smart speakers.   © Reuters

TAIPEI -- Contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn is investigating work conditions at a Chinese factory that produces smart speakers for Amazon.com following concerns raised by a U.S. watchdog.

The American e-commerce company had already demanded corrective action from the Taiwanese electronics assembler, which trades as Hon Hai Precision Industry, following a March audit that uncovered such issues.

Foxconn declined to comment on what it called market rumors related to a client, but said it would conduct a full-scale investigation and correct any problems.

Workers at the plant, which makes Echo Dots and other Amazon products, were compelled to put in 80 hours or more of overtime a month -- far exceeding China's legal cap of 36 -- New York-based China Labor Watch said in a Sunday report after a nine-month investigation. Other problems included too little safety training. The report included a detailed written exchange with Amazon.

A number of American companies following the model of outsourcing production to Taiwanese businesses on a large scale have likewise faced the risk of inadequate labor oversight.

This past November, Foxconn was hit with allegations of students being forced into excessive work making iPhones for Apple at another Chinese factory. And suicides drew scrutiny at Chinese production facilities of the Taiwanese company in 2010.

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