Fair Labor Association publishes findings of Apple/Foxconn Investigation

We knew the Fair Labor Association would publish the initial findings of its investigation into Apple’s Foxconn facilities, and now the report is officially available through the organization’s website. The full report released today and is here. The press release outlining the investigation is below. According to the recommendations, Foxconn committed to “bring its factories into full compliance with Chinese legal limits and FLA standards on working hours by July 2013.”

The last we heard from the FLA about its audits into Apple’s Foxconn facilities was that it found “tons of issues.” Apple became the first technology company accepted as a member into the organization after controversies surrounding working conditions in Apple’s supply chains abroad became mainstream. As for what the FLA found in its audits of the three Foxconn facilities, here is an excerpt from the report:

FLA’s investigation found that within the last 12 months, all three factories exceeded both the FLA Code standard of 60 hours per week (regular plus overtime) and the Chinese legal limits of 40 hours per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month. During peak production periods, the average number of hours worked per week exceeded 60 hours per worker. There were periods in which some employees worked more than seven days in a row without the required 24 hours off.

The FLA said Foxconn’s commitment will “reduce working hours to legal limits while protecting pay, improve health and safety conditions, establish a genuine voice for workers, and will monitor on an ongoing basis to verify compliance.” This will lead to a maximum 49-hour workweek, including overtime for employees and a decrease in monthly overtime from 80 hours to 36 hours. While we reported some workers were unhappy with working fewer hours, Foxconn also committed to a compensation package for workers with reduced overtime:

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China Labor Watch and authorities probe Apple supplier factory blast, aluminum dust linked to explosion

Local government authorities are investigating last weekend’s explosion that injured 61 people at the Shanghai factory of  an Apple iPad 2 back-panel supplier after much outcry from China Labor Watch.

CLW was founded in 2000, according to their website, and it is an independent not-for-profit organization that has collaborated with unions and labor organizations to assess factories in China.

The Dec. 17 blast at Ri Teng Computer Accessory Co., owned by Taipei-based Pegatron Corp., was similar to the explosion at a Foxconn Technology Group facility in May, according to a Dec. 19 statement from CLW.

“The blast in Riteng is a result of aluminum dust in the workshop where ipad cases are polished,” said CLW in its press release. “A similar blast happened in the same workshop of a Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu, killing 3 workers and hurting another 15.”

CLW said there was “a lot of aluminum dust in the workshop,” but apparently, the workers were not aware of the “potential danger before the blast.”

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration said aluminum dust is highly combustible, according to its online health guidelines. The administration stressed the need to take special precautions in handling the substance in occupational settings.

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Employees at Apple’s keyboard supplier strike due to poor working conditions

Despite Apple vowing to audit fifteen of their suppliers following accusations of pollution from Chinese NGOs, a report from China Labor Watch says 1,000 employees of a Jingmo Electronics Corporation factory in Shenzhen staged a strike earlier this week. The factory is owned by one of the world’s largest keyboard manufacturers, Jingyuan Computer Group, and happens to be an OEM for Apple, among others including LG and IBM. The Chinese Labor Watch organization is particularly urging Apple to take responsibility:

“China Labor Watch calls upon Apple, IBM and the other clients of this factory to assume responsibility for these workers’ dissatisfaction and work with the factory to improve the working conditions in the factory. We particularly urge Apple to take responsibility, as there are more than 300 workers working on the Apple keyboard assembly line.” 

The workers decided to strike over management’s decision to enforce nightly overtime, adding a 6 p.m.- 12 p.m nightly shift to their regular hours of 7-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. That accounts for approximately 120 hours of overtime per month. They were also refused the right to work this overtime on the weekends, which would have required the company to pay workers double time under Chinese Labor Law. Chinese Labor Watch explains there were other concerns raised by employees as well:
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