Independent inspectors to investigate working coniditons in Apple manufacturing plants in China… Apple has bowed to pressure and agreed to allow an unprecedented level of independent inspection of their suppliers’ factories in China after a series of incidents affecting Chinese workers.
Foxconn, the largest private-sector employer in China started a process of installing anti-suicide nets at its Shenzhen factory last June. The company also said it had reacted to the several suicides that occurred at the factory by increasing wages and reducing the working day.
Another incident saw 2 workers killed in May 2011 after an explosion at the Chengdu plant while 137 workers were taken ill after they mistakenly used a toxic chemical to clean Iphone screens at a factory in East China.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: “Workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment – which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers.
“The inspections now under way are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”
Apple’s suppliers have confirmed their intention to co-operate fully with the inspection team and a team of labour rights officials have already begun their investigations at the Shenzhen factory where iPads are manufactured.
The FLA will interview the huge number of employees at the plant and get their feedback on living and working conditions, health and safety, salary, work schedule and relationship with management. All the manufacturing areas will be visited to determine if they are up to standard a comprehensive review will be carried out on the working environment and workplace practices. Similar investigations have also been scheduled for factories elsewhere in China.
Apple’s share price has recently exceeded $500 making it the most valuable company in the world but critics continue to highlight issues relating to underage workers, excessive working hours and poor working conditions at Apple manufacturing plants in China.
Apple respond by claiming they have made very effort to eradicate these problems and have audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain since 2006.
The first findings and recommendations from the FLA factory assessments are expected in March.