Apple faces the music
China – Apple has finally admitted it has a human rights problem, after years of complaints and worker suicides in China.
The tech giant has agreed to have an independent inspection by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) of its supply line in China. The Independent reported this can be considered an admission by Apple that it has failed to monitor working conditions.
“We believe workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we have asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said. “The inspections now under way are unprecedented in the electronics industry.”
Workers at the plant have voiced out against low pay, long 10-hour shifts with only one break, and being made to stand for extended periods of time resulting in swollen legs. They also claim many of Foxconn’s dormitories, which house 70,000 workers, are overcrowded, and some have as many as 20 workers living in a single three-room apartment.
Additionally, there were two fatal explosions at the plant last year, one of which was caused by the ignition of dust released by polishing new iPads.
The FLA will ask workers about working and living conditions, including health and safety, pay and hours. They will also inspect the plant’s manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities.
However, not everyone is satisfied with Apple’s latest move. Campaign group China Labour Watch has dismissed it as a publicity stunt, after writing an open letter to Cook demanding Apple accept lower profits so suppliers can raise wages, increase headcount and improve safety.
“We already know what the conditions are like in the factories,” Fan Yuan, a China Labour Watch activist, said. “What Apple needs to do right now is take action to solve the problems. This move is not really about solving the problems, but rather about Apple getting publicity and rebuilding its positive image.”
This inspection comes on top of Apple’s yearly audits, which include a code of practice limiting the length of shifts and proper overtime pay. But the company's spot-checks exposes scores of violations at most suppliers._______________________________________________________________________________
To subscribe to Human Resources' monthly print magazines and daily online newsletters, please go to http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/subscribe/
To view exclusive HRTV videos and commentary on HR issues, visit The Office Snitch
More quality Lighthouse titles
Get your marketing department up to speed with Asia's most read marketing site
Want to get on the right side of the procurement department?
Direct them to Procurement Asia
Apple Related Stories:
- Locals proud of home-grown companies
- How much is your CEO worth?
- iPad app takes protest movement global
- Apple: a lesson in crisis control?
- Apple: Genius needed?
- Android tablets tipped to outsell iPads
- Apple’s labour woes, Lanxess grows
- Twitter’s video platform sparks controversy
- New logistics hub, Apple makes TVs
- Apple to open third shop in Hong Kong
- Apple's iTunes continues rollout
- Industry picks Amazon over Apple
- Bizarre HR: The strange habits of CEOs
- What mini tablets mean for digital marketers
- Strike two for Apple manufacturer
- New tablet brings new woes to marketers
- Telecom brands get ready for iPhone 5 craze
- What the iPhone 5 means for retail marketers
- Can iPhone 5 match rising expectations?
- What now for Samsung?