Apple Now Tracking Working Hours for Over One Million Supply Chain Employees

Apple has updated its supplier responsibility pages to note that it is now tracking working hours for one million employees in its supply chain, up from 900,000 at its previous update.

Compliance with Apple's 60-hour work week standard stood at 88% in November, below the peak of 97% reached in July and August. Apple notes, however, that it allows the normal 60-hour standard to be exceeded during period of high demand if workers volunteer for the additional time. That policy seems to have had an impact on overall compliance over the past three months, coinciding with Apple's major product ramps for the iPhone 5, iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad, updated iPods, and a number of new Mac models.

Going deep into our supply chain, we now follow weekly supplier data for over 1,000,000 workers. In November 88 percent of workweeks were less than the 60-hour maximum specified in Apple’s code of conduct. In limited peak periods, we allow work beyond the 60 hour limit for those employees that volunteer to do so.


Apple reports that with one million supply chain workers now being tracked through the system, the company has doubled its coverage since early this year when it began a new initiative to more openly address worker rights and safety throughout its supply chain. Apple has also partnered with the Fair Labor Association to provide third-party monitoring of conditions.

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99 months ago
Yet somehow, activists will still complain.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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99 months ago
But yet because it's Apple, the labour conditions for another company is their fault. It's as if Apple are the one managing Foxconn.

In truth, I find it unusual for a company to track the wages of workers for the supplier. I think what Apple are doing are more than adequate
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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99 months ago

seems strange that they won't let people work more than 60 hours if they choose to do so, unless it's a peak time. if free market was allowed to work, then wages would adjust themselves to provide incentives for people to voluntarily work 60+ hours. isnt it?

To let people work more than 60 hours a week, an employer would have to be unscrupulous and remarkably stupid. Why stupid? Because there has been study after study, with the first study that I know of in the 1940's, showing that long working hours are not productive.

In software development, for example, it has been shown that a developer working 40 hours a week for 6 weeks, and a developer working 60 hours a week for 6 weeks, have the same productivity. Which means the amount of useful work produced in the extra 120 hours is exactly ZERO. The difference is that after these 6 weeks, you have one employee who is happy and fresh and can continue to be productive, and another employee who is unhappy and tired and whose productivity is now going to drop, no matter what you do.

The first study that I heard of was about weapons production in war time Britain, where it was shown that people working 57 hours a week did less work, not less work per hour but less work per week, than other people doing the same job for 48 hours per week.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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99 months ago

60 hours of course is still a lot more than is standard in the USA and Europe. In the latter, we'd see 40 +/- 5 hour weeks as a standard - although of course the con that is unpaid overtime for salaried workers masks the actual worked hours - but you need to sign a form if you regularly work an average of 48 hours a week or more.


Standard? Among some office workers. A lot of people work multiple jobs and the total is more like 60 to 90 hours a week. Don't interfere with people's right to work. If they want to work 60 hours then more power to them. I work far more than that as does everyone in our family. Just because you don't want to work don't try to force your values on other people.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago

But yet because it's Apple, the labour conditions for another company is their fault. It's as if Apple are the one managing Foxconn.


Unsurprisingly we don't see media coverage of the labor practices of Google's Chinese "partners" like ZTE, Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu, and who-knows-who-else building Android devices. Though we hear all about Android market share. Hmm...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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99 months ago

Yet somehow, activists will still complain.


True, as throwing a name like Apple around will attract more attention to your cause.

But the bigger problem is the press, that has and does exalt everything Apple does or fails to do. That's the price of success, I suppose. But it comes at a more sinister cost.

The mainstream media more or less ignores Apple's less attention-grabbing competitors. For example, independent investigators discovered Samsung's suppliers using child labor (http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/pro/proshow-177.html), among some other egregious abuses. There was a blog entry all the Wall Street Journal, an article on Bloomberg, and some coverage from the tech blogs. Nothing on a front page like we would get if Apple was involved. Nothing that creates the kind of outrage Apple generated that forced them to change meaningfully.

Reacting to the media generated outrage, Apple joined a respected, independent body to investigate supplier labor practices (http://www.fairlabor.org/affiliate/apple) (months later they are still the only technology company working with the FLA). They have faced their labor inadequacies head on, and yes, are still far from perfect. Meanwhile, Samsung outright denies the charges from CLW's independent investigation (http://gizmodo.com/5968732/samsung-denies-new-claims-of-underage-workers-in-its-supplier-plants) and surprisingly doesn't seem keen to copy Apple by using an independent organization to complete audits of their suppliers. Instead Samsung seems keen to continue with their likely inadequate "internal" investigations (http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/26/samsung-audit-chinese-suppliers/).

All the while the mainstream press is giving Samsung, and others a pass. Apple only involved the FLA because of the media's outrage and because the question of their labor practices was hurting their image.

But how can we expect labor rights to improve overseas when we only hold one company's feet to the fire? Where's the outrage against Samsung? Or other companies whom CLW and other organizations expose?

That is the real cost of the mainstream media's failure to report. But when they are beholden to the almighty dollar above all else, of course you'll report only on the brand that generates the most attention.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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