New Foxconn regulations will ripple through Apple's supply chain

Summary:Foxconn gets slammed by the Fair Labor Association after an investigation, which could have a ripple effect throughout Apple's supply chain.

Just after Apple CEO Tim Cook visited a Foxconn plant in China this week, the Fair Labor Association has issued its official report regarding labor rights allegations against Apple's supply chain partner that has been under fire for months.

See also: CNET: Foxconn audit finds violations, fixes promised

Simply put, the FLA slammed Foxconn with a long list of serious issues that need to be addressed immediately.

That includes, but is not limited to, "excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation; several health and safety risks; and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers."

After logging 3,000 staff hours while investigating three factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers since February, the international organization has handed Apple's largest supplier a long list of strict labor rights requirements to which Foxconn must commit.

These rules include reducing the number of monthly overtime hours from 80 to 36, compensation packages that protects workers from losing income due to reduced overtime, and requiring supervisors and workers to report all accidents that result in an injury.

The FLA's move not only (to put it lightly) reprimands Foxconn, but it also has the potential to ripple throughout Apple's supply chain worldwide.

Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, explained in the report that FLA assessors have the right to "unfettered access to conduct thorough investigations of Apple suppliers."

Joining the Fair Labor Association is voluntary. But once a company joins, FLA sets the rules of investigations and has full access to any supplier, owns the information collected and publishes its findings and recommendations for remedial action.

Even though Foxconn has been the most reported-about member of Apple's supply chain lately when it comes to labor rights violations, the FLA is already widening the net to investigate other partners as well.

The best step for Apple would be to take a proactive approach and double-check -- ahead of investigators from the FLA and elsewhere -- to ensure these requirements stipulated in the FLA's report are already being upheld (or not) throughout the supply chain.

A full copy of the FLA's report is available online now.

Related:

Topics: Apple

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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