The Fair Labor Association has today posted an update in its ongoing audit of working conditions at the factories of Apple supplier Foxconn. The update is largely positive, noting some 284 items of compliance by Foxconn including many that were accomplished ahead of schedule.
The initial findings from the FLA indicated a list of issues which needed to be corrected:
- Some employees worked over 60 hours a week, when the limit in China is 49.
- Overtime was calculated on 30 minute increments, making up to 29 minutes extra ineligible for overtime.
- Workers were unaware of health and safety committees and there were a number of minor safety infractions.
“Our verification shows that the necessary changes, including immediate health and safety measures, have been made. We are satisfied that Apple has done its due diligence thus far to hold Foxconn accountable for complying with the action plan, including the commitment to reform its internship program,” said Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association. “When we finished our initial investigation in March, Foxconn promised to address concerns with its internship program by ensuring that student interns do not work overtime, their work has a more direct connection to their field of study, and they understand that they are free to terminate the internship if and when they wish.”
Foxconn has already reduced hours to under 60 per week (including overtime) with the goal of reaching full compliance with the Chinese legal limit of 40 hours per week plus an average of 9 hours of overtime per week while protecting worker compensation
There is still 76 items left to be corrected this year from the FLA’s original list, and the audit is ongoing.
Much of the investigation into the working conditions in Apple factories in China began with a series of articles in the New York Times, including How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work and In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad. Joel Johnson’s 1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame? article in Wired has also been widely referenced as well.
After those reports, on January 13 of this year, Apple became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association, signing an agreement to let the FLA independently assess the quality of Apple’s supply chain and report the results on its website.
At a conference in February, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “No one is doing more to improve working conditions in China than Apple,” indicating that the company knew it should be doing more.