Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.
Apple has updated its Labor and Human Rights page to detailing its efforts to curtail excessive work weeks in its suppliers factories, like Foxconn in China.
The updates include the fact that they are now tracking over 900k workers — up from 800K in August and 500K in January — to gather the data. Apple’s 60-hour work week compliance rate was down nearly 10% from August’s high of 97% to 88% in September. Apple requires that workers never work more than 60 hours in a week, which is in line with Chinese labor law.
However, a new note has been added to the page text that seeks to explain the drop:
In limited peak periods, we allow work beyond the 60 hour limit for those employees that volunteer to do so.
This ‘peak’ production period would no doubt include the iPhone 5, iPod touch models and two new iPads including the iPad mini.
Despite the drop, which is unfortunate, Apple remains one of the only major tech companies to maintain this kind of transparency about its supplier’s working conditions.
Apple Supplier Responsibility History
Apple factories in China came under scrutiny after a set 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 was also cited by many.
In 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. A report from the FLA in August noted that 284 items on its recommended changes list had been complied with and that some 76 remained.
This followed the launch of its new Supplier Responsibility website, which included a list of its official suppliers, the first time the company had ever publicly disclosed them.
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.
Apple’s supplier responsibility page tracks subjects related to the company’s supply chain like labor and human rights, worker health and safety, environmental impact and general ethics.
Image Credit: Apple
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