Makers of Apple Products Promise More Pay, Less Work

April 28, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. wage (n.) [weyj] – money paid in exchange for working; payment given to workers
Example: Workers with good performance get a wage increase.

2. criticized (v.) [krit-uh-sahyz] – to express disapproval of somebody’s mistakes
Example: The nation’s leaders are often criticized when the economy goes down.

3. response (n.) [ri-spons] – answer or reaction to something
Example: The judge asked the witness to give an honest response.

4. operation (n.) [op-uh-rey-shuhn] – business activity
Example: Toyota had to stop its operations in Thailand because of the flood.

5. make up for (v.) [meyk][uhp][fawr; unstressed fer] – to make a bad situation better; to pay for a loss or mistake
Example: I came to work late and had to make up for it by working overtime.

Read the text below.

Foxconn Technology Group’s chairman, Terry Gou, has promised to increase wages and decrease the long work hours of employees in Foxconn’s Chinese factories.

This move was done after the Fair Labor Association criticized poor working conditions and illegal work practices in Foxconn factories.  Factories owned by Foxconn currently make 50% of the world’s electronics, including Nokia products and Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

Foxconn’s original response to the issue was just to decrease employees’ daily work hours. However, workers complained that they would not be able to earn enough money because of the lessened work time.

Such complaints have pushed Foxconn to also raise wages which Gou says the company will continue to do in the future.

Foxconn and Apple have also agreed to improve safety measures, employee housing conditions and facilities for the 1.2 million workers who assemble Apple products. Additionally, Foxconn will put an end to unpaid overtime work and hire thousands of new employees.

In order to make up for production and financial losses caused by fewer work hours and higher wages, analysts say Foxconn will not only need to hire new employees but  will also need to invest in automated equipment. The company already plans to build high-tech factories in China’s Hainan province and to expand operations in Vietnam and Brazil.
Gou, who has been listed by Forbes as the third richest man in Taiwan, says the new decisions should take some pressure off Chinese factories and their overworked employees.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Have you ever felt overworked? What did you do at that time?
·         Describe the perfect work environment for you. What things would you like to change at work?

Discussion B 

·         How can a company keep the well-being of their employees?
·         Why is it important for companies to take care of their employees?


April 28, 2012