Foxconn Still Under Fire over China Labor Conditions

We've been covering extensively the unfortunate situation at Hon Hai's China plants, which have been rocked in recent months by several employee suicides. Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, makes Apple's iPhone as well as many other prominent tech devices, making it difficult to sweep allegations of worker abuse under the rug. To Foxconn's credit, the company didn't do that, instead vowing to improve worker conditions that may have led to the spate of suicides. Did Foxconn follow through?

That depends on who you ask. According to one report based on interviews with more than 1,700 workers, Foxconn still maintains a "militaristic" work environment with long working hours and low wages, Yahoo News reports. But if you talk to Foxconn, it's all a bunch of hogwash.

Foxconn put wires on its windows to prevent workers from leaping to their death.

"Foxconn Technology Group strongly and categorically rejects reports in the Chinese and international media that are attributed to research by academics and students alleging worker abuse, illegal labor practices, and unsafe working conditions at our operations in China," Foxconn said in a statement.

Since the suicides came to light, Foxconn promised to improve working conditions by raising wages, slashing overtime, and building new factories in inland China so that migrant workers could be closer to their families. But according to the report, workers say not much has changed. In addition, a second report by the rights group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) indicated that many workers still make barely more than minimum wage. Both reports accuse Foxconn of hiring scores of students and interns at low wages to offset rising costs.

Are Foxconn workers, by and large, as happy as this one appears to be?

"Foxconn is certainly not perfect, but we take our responsibility to our employees very seriously," the company said. Foxconn also disputed the reports' numbers, claiming only 7.6 percent of its workforce is comprised of interns. Foxconn also said that anyone working overtime did so voluntarily.