Apple tackles labor violations in Chinese factories

Summary:Following a 2013 audit, Apple has begun working with component supplier Quanta to improve working conditions in Chinese factories.

credapple
Credit: Apple

Apple is working with suppliers to fix yet another round of labor violations discovered within Chinese factories.

A report published on Friday by the Fair Labor Association documents a 2013 audit which uncovered labor violations at two Quanta factories in China, a supplier of Apple components. The watchdog provides a snapshot of the two factories, Tech-Com Computer Co. in Shanghai and Changshu-based Tech-Full Computer Co. in August 2013, where labor monitoring organization Openview sent assessors to inspect the factories for four and five day sessions.

The assessors discovered a number of labor violations, including indoor air pollution, poor hiring procedures, unlawful overtime for younger workers and student interns, a lack of rest days and illegal working hours, as well as poor storage procedures for dangerous chemicals. In addition, 80 percent of workers interviewed in Shanghai were charged a hiring fee from recruitment agents, and many workers were denied due wages for sick leave.

Overall compliance scores for both factories are below:

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.40.18
Shanghai
Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.40.48
Changshu

According to Reuters, the tech giant has been working with Quanta over the past year to improve the situation. In response to the report, Apple issued a statement, saying:

"Excessive overtime is not in anyone’s best interest, and we will continue to work closely with Quanta and our other suppliers to prevent it. This year, through the end of July, Quanta has averaged 86 percent compliance with our 60-hour workweek."

Additionally, the iPad and iPhone maker said it has stepped in to address major faults discovered through its own audit team, follow-up inspections have taken place, and over the past year "we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple."

In 2010, Apple's major supplier Foxconn came under scrutiny following reports which said workers were committing suicide and the factor's labor conditions were unacceptable. In total, 11 employees at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory jumped off buildings. Apple said at the time the firm was "saddened and upset," and ongoing inspections were taking place to stop a repeat performance. Foxconn also chose to raise the basic wages of factory workers.

Following a storm of criticism, Apple joined the Fair Labor Association and became more transparent concerning its supply chain and how the company works with suppliers to improve working conditions.

Within the US, the iPad and iPhone maker has found itself the recent subject of a class-action lawsuit submitted in July on behalf of 20,000 employees who allegedly were not given enough rest breaks and were not granted final paychecks. The lawsuit claims that Apple breached Californian labor laws by not providing adequate rest and final payment, and encompasses junior engineers, call center representatives and Apple Store staff.

Topics: Apple, China

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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