Apple is making some progress toward correcting poor working conditions and human rights abuses at its supplier plants, including China's Foxconn factories, which have initiated global criticism, on-site riots and worker suicides.
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Apple updated its Labor and Human Rights page to reflect its latest progress -- increasing employee compliance with a shorter 60-hour week and monitoring more employees. The Next Web spotted the updates to Apple's Labor and Human Rights page.
The latest progress report celebrates workers at Apple's supplier plants nearing 100% compliance, currently at 97%, with the standard 60-hour work week. Apple is also expanding its weekly tracking of 800,000 workers, an increase from 700,000 employees in July, TNW reports.
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The Cupertino-based company pledged to curtail working hours and increase hourly wages at China's Foxconn locations after coming under intense scrutiny. Some of the details that emerged from independent investigations were shocking -- Foxconn workers were reportedly receiving $1.78 an hour, while working 12-hour shifts.
In March, a Fair Labor Association independent investigation found workers were working more than 60 hours weekly. Some employees were working excessively for more than 11 days in a row. The report revealed 14% of workers were not receiving compensation for excessive overtime. The FLA also reported health violations including the presence of dangerous aluminum dust and blocked exits.
The iPhone 5 maker is also expanding audits to suppliers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and in countries where suppliers rely on migrant workers. This is an effort to stop unofficial "recruiting agents" from pressing contract workers for high recruitment fees. Apple states it's working with government agencies, NGOs and peer companies to educate suppliers about legitimate recruiting practices.
Apple also wants to prevent the hiring of underage workers. Audits completed this year turned up "found no cases of underage labor," but The New York Times report on September 10 states Foxconn still has interns on manufacturing lines. According to local Chinese news outlets, vocational school students were required to on "assembly lines at a Foxconn plant to help ease worker shortages."
Foxconn's internship program makes up 2.7% of the total 1.2 million-person workforce. In the FLA report, interns are required to work less than eight hours a week, five days per week and never overnight or over their time limit. Apple is monitoring the "treatment of workers who are old enough to work legally but are younger than 18."
Updates will be continually added to Apple's Supplier Responsibility page.
Do you think Apple is doing enough to press for change at its manufacturing plants and supplier factories? Tell us in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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