updated 10:10 am EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Tracking expands to wider number of facilities
Apple has updated its monthly Supplier Responsibility report with data from March, claiming an improvement in suppliers following rules on excessive working hours. Suppliers are, officially, expected to demand no more than 60 hours a week per person. Compliance grew to 95 percent in March, up from 89 percent in February, and 84 percent in January.
Apple is only now expanding tracking to a more comprehensive number of facilities, though. The 95 percent figure applies to a core group of about 500,000 workers, whereas under the new regime, 800,000 workers are accounted for. Compliance is 91 percent under the expanded scrutiny.
The changes can largely be attributed to increased media scrutiny, which put pressure on Apple and its main supplier partner, Foxconn. Apple joined the Fair Labor Association a few months ago, and a recent report by the group found serious abuses, including some breaking local Chinese law. Foxconn has promised to fix issues, although some workers have still worried that they may not be paid enough without lengthy overtime.