China labor arbitrators rule against injured Foxconn worker

Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:22pm EST
 
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By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese labor arbitrators have ruled against the father of a Foxconn worker brain-damaged in a factory accident in southern China, in a case that puts more attention on the labor practices of Apple Inc's largest contract manufacturer.

The case involves Zhang Tingzhen, a 26-year-old engineer who had nearly half his brain surgically removed after surviving an electric shock in October 2011.

His plight came to light after Reuters reported that Taiwan firm Foxconn had sent telephone text messages to his family telling them it would cut off funds for his treatment and other expenses if they did not remove him from hospital in Shenzhen city and submit him for a disability assessment 70 km (43 miles) away in Huizhou, where the company says he was hired. (ID: nL3E8LB087)

His father, Zhang Guangde, took Foxconn to the arbitration office in October this year insisting that his son was hired in Shenzhen and not Huizhou, where factory wages and compensation levels are substantially lower.

Foxconn has said that wages for engineers are the same in Huizhou and Shenzhen, but since compensation for injuries varies between locations, the company would make up any difference.

In official documents seen on Friday by Reuters, the Shenzhen labor dispute arbitration committee ruled against the father. It said the company had produced a contract dated Aug 4, 2011, showing that the young engineer was hired by its Huizhou facility.

It added that at the time of the injury, the young Zhang was an employee of the Huizhou facility who had been sent to its Shenzhen facility for training.

The elder Zhang is preparing to appeal the decision, according to the family's lawyer Zhang Xiaotan.   Continued...