Apple’s SVP of Operations Jeff Williams said today that the Cupertino company made changes to its requirements for supplier factories with regard to bonded labor practices in October. The practice in question centers on suppliers charging workers recruitment fees in exchange for a job on the assembly line.
Apple now says that these fees should be paid by employers, and employees should not pay anything at all.
As Bloomberg notes, Apple has previously stated that its supplier partners should not charge laborers “excessive fees” equal to a month’s pay or more, but with the recent shift has banned what Williams referred to as “bonded servitude” entirely.
Apple has long maintained a position of caring about “every worker in [its] supply chain,” and as that group continues to grow at a rapid pace, some suppliers have reportedly tried to resist Apple’s changes.
The latest edict from the tech giant was not received well by some companies, but all complied regardless. Williams said that every violation discovered this year in company audits was a first-time offense. The results of those audits were released today.
Williams also pointed out that companies who comply with these requirements will always be reimbursed by Apple when it settles its debts with suppliers. The executive told Bloomberg, “That fee needs to be paid by the supplier and Apple ultimately bears that fee when we pay the supplier and we’re OK doing that. We just don’t want the worker to absorb that.”