Technology magnates Apple – manufacturers of the hugely popular iPhone, iPod and iPad – are to have the majority of their manufacturers undergo ‘unprecedented’ inspections, after recent media allegations that working conditions were inhumane and terrible.
The internet has been awash with reports highlighting the awful working conditions at Foxconn – a Chinese manufacturer – responsible for making a great many popular Apple products. Pictures of suicide nets hanging outside dorms and factory windows offered a chilling insight into what life as a factory worker could be like. Other reports exposed appalling human rights, long working hours, cramped living quarters, poor pay, unreasonable working conditions and have tarnished Apple’s previously good reputation.
In an attempt to rectify these issues in their production chain, Apple has asked for the FLA (Fair Labour Association) inspections. In a press release issued earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said,
“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers. 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.”
Two of Apple’s other major suppliers, Pegatron and Quanta will also be inspected after Foxconn, meaning that these audits will include approximately 90% of their manufacturers.
In the same press release as quoted from above, Apple tried in some way to defend their involvement in the scandal by stating that;
“Apple has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final assembly facilities. Details of Apple’s supplier responsibility program, including the results of more than 500 factory audits led by Apple throughout its supply chain over the past five years, are available at www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility.”
FLA president Auret van Heerden will begin the inspections on Monday at the Foxconn facility in Shenzhen. Apple’s press release also states that their “suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations.”
The FLA’s findings and recommendations are expected to come out in March 2012 and will be available on www.fairlabor.org