updated 02:59 pm EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Apple says it has worked to fix problems
The Fair Labor Association has published the results of 2013 audits of Shanghai and Changshu facilities run by Apple supplier Quanta, documenting numerous labor rights violations. These included illegal recruitment and underage labor practices, as well as health and safety problems. The audits were previously mentioned in Apple's 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, but the company has responded today with a new statement insisting that it was worked to improve conditions since, and that it will cut ties with firms that fail to meet FLA standards. "Our suppliers must live up to the toughest standards in the industry if they want to keep doing business with Apple," it says.
"The Quanta facilities inspected by the FLA last year were included in our 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, which we released in February. Our own experts have audited these sites 16 times, most recently last month," the company continues. "In the year since the FLA's visit, we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple. Apple conducted four follow-up inspections on top of the annual audits of both facilities, to ensure the needed corrections are in place.
"This year, through the end of July, Quanta has averaged 86 percent compliance with our 60-hour workweek. Excessive overtime is not in anyone's best interest, and we will continue to work closely with Quanta and our other suppliers to prevent it." Workers at Chinese suppliers will, in fact, sometimes choose to work heavy overtime to compensate for low wages, and/or to support family elsewhere. But this can result in exhaustion and depression; some factory bosses will also demand that overtime without extra pay.