Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has updated the supplier responsibility page on their official website. The page shows that Apple is very concerned about the working conditions in their factories. Apple had previously announced that Fair Labor Association (FLA) will inspect Foxconn plants in China. The New York Times recent report suggested that the company was overlooking poor working conditions in its factories, in order to ensure that the products were delivered on time.
The company has started to update their supplier responsibility page on a monthly basis. It claims to be the first technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association. The company thrives to create a better working environment for its workers (or avoid criticism).
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Apple in particular wants to avoid underage labor. The company stated on the site:
Preventing underage labor is only part of our efforts. We also monitor the treatment of workers who are old enough to work legally but are younger than 18. We don’t allow these workers to perform some types of work, even in cases where local laws allow it. Our standards also require factories to adhere to student labor laws and to ensure that schools and universities follow the laws as well, which is particularly important as factories increasingly turn to these institutions for student interns.
Apple has also been working to address the problem of excessive work hours. The company wants to limit factory working hours to a maximum of 60 work hours per week, and at least one day of rest per seven days of work. Apple blamed that the following conditions were due to inadequate shift planning, failure to prepare for changing demand or employee attrition, lack of accountability by management, etc. Apple claims that reducing excessive overtime is a top priority for the Supplier Responsibility program in 2012. The company stated:
In our effort to end the industry practice of excessive overtime, we’re working closely with our suppliers to manage employee working hours. Weekly data collected in January 2012 on more than 500,000 workers employed by our suppliers showed 84 percent compliance with the 60-hour work week specified in our code. In February 2012, compliance with the 60-hour work week among 500,000 workers at those suppliers increased to 89 percent, with workers averaging 48 hours per week. That’s a substantial improvement over previous results, but we can do better. We will continue to share our progress by reporting this data on a monthly basis
Apple is working to prevent any discrimination based on medical tests. The company found 24 facilities conducting pregnancy tests, and 56 others that did not have policies prohibiting such gender discrimination. This practice was stopped and preventive measures were taken to ensure that this case won’t re-occur in future. Apple is likely doing this as a PR boost after the Foxconn ‘story’, but it remains to be seen whether the effort will be successful.