Foxconn workers oblivious about their rights
Foxconn to give Chinese workers 30 per cent pay rise
Death count rises at Foxconn IT factory in China
Apple finds proof of poor practice
Apple supply chief faces corruption charges
16 February 2011 | Angeline
Child labour, excessive working
hours, falsified records and bribery are among the major violations uncovered
at some of Apple’s supplier
Its audit last year of 127 supplier
sites revealed 37 major workplace violations, according to the firm’s 2011Supplier Responsibility Report,
published this week.
Where a major violation is
uncovered for the first time, Apple works with the supplier to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Where a repeat of a major
violation is discovered, the supplier is struck off.
Among the issues highlighted in the
• A total of 91
children (under China’s minimum working age of 16) were found working at 10
• Working hours
exceeding Apple’s limits were operating in 68 per cent of sites audited. Apple
sets a maximum of 60 work hours per week.
• Four sites had
falsified records relating to workers’ wages.
• At one site, a
facility manager offered cash to Apple’s auditors, in exchange for reducing the
number of audit findings.
• A total of 64
facilities had committed violations relating to engineering controls - this
included not having safety devices on machinery.
• Some 47 facilities
were without first-aid supplies; 78 had no properly maintained fire equipment;
and 80 facilities failed to store or handle hazardous chemicals properly.
In 2010, 137 workers at the Suzhou
facility of Wintek fell ill from exposure to n-hexane, a chemical used in
cleaning agents. Apple said poor ventilation had exacerbated the problem. It
told Wintek to stop using n-hexane, fix the ventilation system and improve environmental
health and safety processes. In a separate incident, one of Apple’s logo
suppliers and its subcontractor were found to be using the same chemical.
Apple said in the report: “Our repeat audits
showed continued performance improvements and better working conditions.
First-time audits revealed patterns of compliance and noncompliance similar to
first-time audits in previous years. Apple’s procurement decisions take into
account a facility’s social responsibility performance, along with factors such
as quality, cost, and timely delivery. When social responsibility performance consistently
fails to meet our expectations, we terminate business.”
Following the 2009 audits, Apple
terminated business with three supplier sites.
The report also highlighted its
efforts to address the suicides of 10 workers at its supplier Foxconn’s factory
in Shenzhen, China. Two suicide prevention experts accompanied COO Tim Cook on
a visit to the factory last June. A team of suicide prevention experts
evaluated more than 1,000 workers. Its findings, released in August, commended
Foxconn for taking quick action, including hiring psychological counsellors and
establishing a 24-hour care centre. The company also attached “large nets to
the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides”.