The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has concluded its independent investigation into working conditions at Apple’s suppliers in China. FLA launched its investigation on February 13, 2012 following labor rights allegations at Foxconn and negative reports regarding plant conditions. Shortly after commencing the investigation, FLA president Auret van Heerden released preliminary findings indicating that the working conditions at Foxconn were far better than those in other factories elsewhere in China.
However, in its final report published earlier today, FLA noted that it had observed “at least 50 issues related to the FLA Code and Chinese labor law” covering areas such as health and safety, worker integration, communication, wages and working hours. The investigation consisted of both on-site visual observation and policy/documentation reviews, as well as interviews with hundreds of Foxconn workers and managers, plus surveys of more than 35,000 randomly selected Foxconn workers. The resulting report highlights the most serious problems as being excessive average working hours during peak production times, general issues regarding inconsistent health and safety policies, and lack of worker involvement and communication in the development of health and safety procedures.
The report also noted that although Foxconn wages are above the Chinese average, fair compensation was not always paid for unscheduled overtime due to payroll policies.
As highlighted in the report, both Apple and Foxconn have committed to implementing remedial actions for all of these issues, and ensuring that FLA standards continue to be upheld in its supply chain. Apple became the first technology company to join the FLA in January following the release of its own supplier responsibility report in an effort to move toward “greater transparency and independent oversight” of its suppliers.