Apple received a spate of bad press earlier in the summer after a report published in the Mail on Sunday alleged that the factories that produce iPods were treating workers badly and that they did not adhere to standards set out in Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
The company promised to investigate the claims, and, true to its word, has posted a complete report detailing the finds of the dispatched team, which was made up of staff from its human resources, legal, and operations groups.
In a statement, Apple said, “Our investigations found that our top iPod manufacturing partner, Foxconn, complies with our Supplier Code of Conduct in most areas and is taking steps to correct the violations we found".
“Apple is dedicated to ensuring that working conditions are safe and employees are treated with respect and dignity wherever our products are made.”
On site, they interviewed 100 randomly-selected employees that included line workers, supervisors, executives, and support personal.
Foxconn’s manufacturing facility supports over 200,000 employees, the majority of which live on the campus, which is a fully-functioning small city with restaurants, 10 cafeterias, a hospital, supermarkets, and recreational facilities.
Apple only uses 15% of Foxconn’s worker capacity.
The dormitories, in which employees may live free of charge, house 32,000 workers, and are separated by gender, and all living facilities are air-conditioned.
Although the picture painted by the employees interviewed was mostly rosy, Apple did address several complaints.
Three of the off-site dorms were deemed to be below standard, with large rooms full of beds and lockers in two of them, and tiny triple-bunks in a third. The supplier has already purchased more land to build new dorms and will increase the living space by 46% before the end of the year.
In terms of wages, Apple found that all employees were at least earning local minimum wage, with half earning more than that.
However, the reporting system for overtime was too prone to human error, so steps are being taken to electronically monitor overtime using an electronic badge system, so that extra time is linked to the payroll system.
The report also reads, “We found no instances of forced overtime and employees confirmed in interviews that they could decline overtime requests without penalty".
“We did, however, find that employees worked longer hours than permitted by our Code of Conduct, which limits normal workweeks to 60 hours and requires at least 1 day off each week.”
Employees did express some dissatisfaction in the interviews: 20% said that there was not enough overtime available during non-peak periods; 10% said that the off-campus transportation schedule was inadequate.
Overall, it sounds like the factory is far from the slave-labour camp that it was originally depicted to be.
Apple has gone the extra mile by hiring Verite, “an internationally recognised leader in workplace standards dedicated to ensuring that people around the world work under safe, fair and legal conditions”.