Speaking at the annual shareholder meeting, Foxconn Technology Group’s CEO Terry Gou criticized China’s “unreasonable” restrictions on overtime hours, saying that his workers actually want to work more hours and that forcing them to put in less time reduces their income, while also affecting the company’s competitiveness, Bloomberg reports.
The billionaire chief was addressing criticism over practices such as allowing overtime to soar before the annual holiday shopping season when it sharply ramps up production to get devices to market in time. Gou stressed that it was a normal practice in other parts of the world as well, while also repeating a pledge to employ robots to replace 80% of workers in coming years.
He also argued that Foxconn should be governed by U.S. regulations since the majority of its customers, from Apple to Amazon, are American.
“We have a number of response plans,” Gou said. “The trade war is not about trade, but it is a tech war, and it is a manufacturing war.”
“China has tougher overtime regulations than the U.S. and the European Union, and they understand those are unreasonable regulations, unreasonable laws,” Gou said. “Right now during the low season we are following China’s regulations, and in the peak season we are following U.S. regulations.”
Foxconn is currently China’s largest private employer and keeps nearly a million on its payroll.