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Fair Labor Association: Foxconn has 'tons of issues'

updated 06:10 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Apple auditor FLA says Foxconn needs to be fixed

Fair Labor Association chief Auret van Heerden updated his opinions in a conversation on Friday that signaled possibly drastic action ahead. In talking to Bloomberg, he partly rescinded an earlier warm reaction and said the group was "finding tons of issues" at the contract manufacturer. He wouldn't say what these were, but he anticipated "very significant announcements" soon.

Apple had managed to effect some change, having Foxconn and fellow iPhone contract manufacturer Pegatron alter their device polishing equipment to curb plant explosions relating to build-ups for hazardous substances. Van Heerden noted that at least Foxconn was using a "totally automated" robotic process that dropped the need for humans altogether.

He elaborated that discussions of labor conditions would work through randomly selected, small groups of staff from a group of 35,000. They would send information directly to the FLA through Internet-aware tablets, hopefully avoiding any danger of the information being intercepted or mistranslated.

The auditing points to more substantial demands than in the past and possibly more authentic change. Among the multiple accusations leveled against Foxconn, and Apple by extension as a major customer, have been excessive overtime, harsh policies on breaks, and recruiting underage workers.

How well the FLA can account for every possible violation is still uncertain. Concerns exist that any advance knowledge of an audit lets a company like Foxconn hide or minimize the perceived problems, only to bring many of those offenses back once the auditors had left. Workers might similarly feel under pressure to present an ideal image of their conditions if they suspect their employer will find out later.

By Electronista Staff


  1. SergioRS

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2004


    Margins and $100B

    Apple could take a small cut in margin and use part of their cash hoard to become an industry model in ethical overseas employment.

  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009


    Foxconn does not equal Apple

    there are something like 75 companies using Foxconn to build stuff. Apple is just one of them. FLA hasn't really made it clear that they are looking just as Apple's production lines or the company in general. This is important context to have before making any judgements.

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