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.
The Fair Labor Association has published an extensive report on Apple supplier Foxconn’s labor practices and found extensive violations in areas like payroll, working schedules and health and safety risks.
Apple has come under fire in recent months with comments made about the conditions in the factories making trouble for the company. Some are suggesting that Apple could do more to make working conditions better. At a conference last month, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that “No one is doing more to improve working conditions in China than Apple,” but that the company could, and would, do more.
To that end, Apple asked the FLA to investigate the working conditions at its suppliers in China. After initially stating that Apple had corrected many issues and that Foxconn’s facilities weren’t all that bad, the head of the FLA said that there were ‘tons of issues‘.
Now, the official report has arrived, bringing with it incidences of violations that are pertaining to three Chinese cities where Foxconn has facilities.
On February 13, FLA launched an independent investigation into labor rights allegations at Foxconn, an Apple supplier in China. FLA assessors logged more than 3,000 staff hours inside the factories. They evaluated conditions based on visual observation and review of policies, procedures and documentation (payroll and time records, production schedules, employee records); interviewed hundreds of Foxconn workers and managers both on- and off-site; and conducted an anonymous worker perception survey of 35,500 randomly-selected Foxconn workers – providing an in-depth understanding of working conditions, particularly during peak production of Apple products. FLA found 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.
The supporting documents cover findings in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu, as well as an overall workforce satisfaction report, survey data and a methodology statement.
The findings indicate a laundry list of issues which range from major to minor:
- 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.
Foxconn has promised to reduce workers hours and correct overtime pay errors by July 1, 2013 to comply with legalities in China and the FLA’s recommendations.
On January 13, Apple became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association, signing an agreement to let the regulator to independently assess the quality of Apple’s supply chain and report the results on its website.
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.
If you’re not familiar with the supplier responsibility page, it follows multiple subjects, including labor and human rights, worker health and safety, environmental impact and general ethics.
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