SHENZHEN, China, June 7, 2010 -- Less than a week after announcing a 30 percent pay raise for its workers, electronics giant Foxconn said it will hike wages by another 66 percent beginning in October.
The company said it hoped the pay raise would help increase the incomes of its employees and enable them to reduce overtime work and have enough time for leisure activities. Terry Gou, the Taiwanese founder of Foxconn, said in a statement the wage increase was intended "to safeguard the dignity of workers."
The increased wages are significant as they come against a backdrop of suicides, strikes and partial shut-downs, which are most unusual in this country.
When hundreds of workers recently walked off the job at a Honda plant for two weeks, Honda was forced to increase the workers' pay by up to 32 percent. Last Thursday Beijing announced it would raise its minimum wage 20 percent (to roughly $140 a month).
And now Foxconn announced a whopping 70 percent pay rise after a spate of worker suicides raised questions about working conditions at the factory and threatened to harm the company's reputation.
Starting October 1, the salary of its assembly workers will increase to 2,000 yuan ($290) a month, compared to 900 yuan ($130) last month and 1,200 yuan ($175) following the first increase announced this month. It's the second pay hike announced in the past two weeks and is designed to offset criticism of the low salaries of its Chinese workers, which labor activists claim gave them no choice but to work more and more overtime.
Labor activists in neighboring Hong Kong have criticized what they call poor conditions and military-style discipline with long shifts, few breaks and fast assembly lines.
Foxconn employs thousands of young migrant workers between the ages of 18 and 25, many of whom come from rural areas to live and work on the company complex.
Taiwanese company Hon Hai is the parent company for Foxconn. It made billions of dollars in profit last year and is considered to be extremely secretive. One factory worker told ABC News his average wage was $140 per month.
Hon Hai is possibly the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer and employs 800,000 people in China who churn out products for Apple, Nokia, Dell, Sony and Nintendo.