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5 May 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The senior management of computer manufacturer HP has agreed plans to improve worker conditions at supplier Foxconn.
Following a series of suicides at the Taiwanese suppliers’ manufacturing plant in China, which put the vendor in the media spotlight last year, HP commissioned a third-party survey of workers in the HP production area at one of the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen. In total, 453 workers were surveyed by questionnaire, and a further 182 participated in group interview sessions.
Based on the results of the interviews and similar worker surveys conducted by Foxconn internally, senior executives from both companies, including senior vice-presidents responsible for HP product manufacturing, have agreed on corrective action plans, according to HP's corporate social responsibility report for 2010.
These remedies at Foxconn included implementing supervisor training, reducing the amount of overtime worked by staff, amending shift patterns to improve the use of sleeping accomodation and addressing laundry complaints.
In November 2010, HP invited 16 suppliers in the Shenzhen area, including Foxconn, to training on stress prevention. This workshop introduced a method for managing stress in workplaces that encourages active involvement of frontline workers in improving their work environment.
Meanwhile, Foxconn has established new salary standards to reduce pressure for overtime as a personal necessity for employees, and moved some manufacturing operations closer to migrant workers’ hometowns to maintain social structures and support systems.
“HP continues to work closely with Foxconn to support its social and environmental efforts and help ensure that the progress observed in subsequent audits and key performance indicators is sustained,” the report said.