Foxconn to hold elections for independent union

Feb 03, 2013, 6:10 PM EST
Employees work at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan, Hubei province, in this August 31, 2012 picture.

Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer, is preparing to hold elections in its factories in China for independent union representatives for its workers, the Financial Times reports. This would be the first such election at a large company in China, where labor unions are usually controlled by management and local government. Foxconn is the largest private sector employer in China with 1.2m workers producing products for consumer electronics multinationals such as Apple. The company's labor practices have been under global scrutiny since a wave of worker suicides at its Chinese plants in 2009 and 2010, and it has become a whipping boy for practices widespread in Chinese factories including illegal overtime, low pay and the use of underage workers.