[QUOTE][B]Apple orders inpections of Chinese factories[/B]
Apple has announced plans for 'special voluntary audits' of factories run by Foxconn, the Chinese firm that manufactures Apple products.
The Fair Labour Association has begun inspections at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory and will also assess the factory in Chengdu. At Apple's request, the FLA will inspect facilities, interview employees and inspect documentation to ensure that proper procedures are followed.
Later this Spring, the FLA will audit factories run by Quanta and Pegatron. Apple says that when the full audit is completed, it will have covered the facilities where more than 90 per cent of Apple's products are assembled.
“The inspections now underway 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," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, in a statement.
The announcement comes a week after petitions were delivered to Apple stores in London, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Sydney and Bangalore, calling on Apple to improve conditions for workers in China.
A recent series of articles in The New York Times highlighted problems with standards at Apple's Chinese suppliers. The paper said that more than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have broken at least one part of the company's conduct code since 2007.
Apple has monitored its suppliers since 2006 and publishes detailed annual reports that set out the extent to which each supplier complies with Apple's rules on issues including health and safety, workers' rights and environmental impact.
Though the company points to improved standards across its supply chain since it began monitoring its suppliers, critics want Apple to do more.
Last month, In an email to Apple staff that was leaked to media, Cook said: "Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It's not who we are."
As well as Apple, Foxconn manufactures products for Sony, Microsoft, Amazon, Motorola, Dell, IBM, Nokia and Toshiba, among others.
[U]In January, Apple became the first technology company to join the FLA, which was founded by Nike in the 1990s and monitors conditions for workers across the world.[/U][/QUOTE]
The FLA report is done.
Full copy from the report.[/URL]
An oped from ZD:
[URL="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/apples-supply-chain-a-profile-of-a-foxconn-factory-employee/72784?tag=nl.e539"][B]Apple's supply chain: A profile of a Foxconn factory employee
[/URL]By Rachel King | March 29, 2012, 2:46pm PDT
Summary: The Fair Labor Association’s report on Foxconn’s working conditions provides a nice composite sketch of your average Apple supply chain worker.
The average Foxconn worker logs at least 56 hours a week, finds the factory stressful, has seen an accident, wants better air conditioning and plans on a tenure of about two years. That worker also wants better food in the canteen.
Welcome to Apple’s supply chain.
After logging 3,000 staff hours while investigating three factories since February, the Fair Labor Association finally released its very detailed report about labor rights violations going on within the factories of Apple’s largest supplier, Foxconn. What has emerged from the report is a composite sketch of the day in the life of an Apple supply chain worker.
The FLA found many severe violations when it came to excessive overtime as well as health and safety risks, among other issues.
FLA assessors surveyed more than 35,000 randomly-selected workers anonymously while investigating the charges against Foxconn. Approximately 65 percent of respondents were male and 35 percent were female. The average age was 27.
Overall, 65 percent of these workers also grew up in a village, and 72.2 percent of them considered themselves as migrant workers. At least a third of them had completed vocational school training, while 12.4 percent had a university degree. Only 0.1 percent had no schooling at all.
Approximately 87.4 percent of those surveyed were labeled as a factory worker, while 5.9 percent were supervisors. Only 22.1 percent of them are members of the trade union.
Based on the data published in one of the appendices of the FLA’s report, entitled “Foxconn Technology Group Workforce Perception and Satisfaction Report, 2012,” here’s a glance at what an average Foxconn factory worker’s experience might have looked like:
* The average number of hours worked per week ranged between 56 to 61 hours
* Worked more than seven days in a row without the required 24 hours off
* Didn’t receive fair compensation for unscheduled overtime, nor was compensation enough to pay for basic needs (especially for education and healthcare)
* Finds work at the factory overall to be stressful
* Lived in a crowded dorm
* Either experienced or witnessed an accident while at work
* Found the factory canteen and the bathrooms to be unsanitary
* Found air conditioning and other ventilation systems to be working inadequately
* Felt body pain at the end of a full day of work (most commonly neck, back, arm and hand pain)
* Never heard of management consulting with workers or representatives about factory regulations and conditions
* Never surveyed or asked about workplace satisfaction
* Never used any communication channels to voice suggestions or complaints to factory management
* Thinks that environmental issues and protection at the factory should be priorities
* Has a friend or relative also working at the factory
* Will only maybe stay working at the factory for another two years — even if he/she doesn’t have a sense of “belonging” at the factory
If factory workers could change three things, the most highly rated responses were salaries, more skills training, and the quality of food at the canteen.