Following a demand for transparency from the government and the people, Apple has requested a report on the working conditions at Foxconn, a major Apple supplier in China. The report shows several major labor violations including salaries, unpaid wages, and excessive overtime.
More than half of the total workforce at Foxconn also mentioned that their wages fall short of their basic needs. The auditors are from the Fair Labor Association tasked by Apple to audit its offshore suppliers.
A team which conducted the survey of 35,000 factory workers arrived in Shenzhen, China last February to implement the voluntary check-up at three factories in Chengdu, Longdua, and Guanlan.
The team reviewed the living and working conditions of the factories like working hours and compensation. The said audit also included checking conditions in dormitories, manufacturing sites, and other facilities.
FLA's audit came amidst the scrutiny of Apple's business practices including how its suppliers deliver the goods. FLA caught the attention of labor activists after a series of suicides in 2010 reached the media. Bleak working conditions, illegal overtime conditions, and unsafe facilities were discovered by the media including one explosion in the site which killed several workers.
Apple has been conducting audits on its suppliers since 2006. The results of such audits were published in its website. The latest of such published report was made on January, detailing almost two dozen "core violations" human and labor rights like the use of underage workers. It was also found out that there violations in terms of excessive work hours in more than 100 facilities and most of those plants mentioned failed to pay proper wages for overtime.
One of these plants became a repeat offender prompting Apple to cease its business with it.
The Fair Labor Association is a non-profit organization formed in 1999 after a spate of sweatshop scandal for Nike and other apparel makers. Nike is one of the founding members of the group today. Apple joined FLA last February, making a big technology news since it’s the first tech company to do so.
However, some labor activists also criticize the FLA for taking a big slice of its funds from the same companies it's trying to monitor. While Apple will not comment how much it is giving to FLA, FLA President Auret van Heerden said that the amount from Apple is reaching the six-figure mark. The said funds from Apple are used to audit of its suppliers abroad.