There are certain ironies in this labor agreement between Apple and its supplier Foxconn. Reports Reuters:
Under the agreement, Foxconn said it will reduce working hours to 49 per week, including overtime, while keeping total compensation for workers at its current level. The FLA audit found workers in the three factories put in more than 60 hours per week on average during peak production periods....
The agreement has not gone down well with some Foxconn workers, either.
Chen Yamei, 25, who has worked at a Foxconn factory at Longhua in southern Guangdong province for four years, complained that her salary will drop to just over 2,000 yuan [$317.50] a month from over 4,000 yuan [$635].
"We are here to work and not to play," she said. "Our income is very important."
Is Apple also going to cap the hours worked by associates at its American law firms to 49 hours a week?
China is a special case because the workers there lack political freedom and the freedom to form independent labor unions. And ten suicides indicate that there may be a problem at Foxconn. But it's really something if what's going on here is that the Chinese workers like Chen Yamei are going to lose the income they want so that Apple shareholders and executives and customers in Western countries, and New York Times investigative reporters who write about Apple's labor conditions, many of whom themselves work more than 49 hours a week and for whom an extra 2000 Yuan a month isn't that big a difference, can salve their consciences.