Apple Working to Remedy Labor Violations Found at Quanta Factories
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) today published a new report examining two factories operated by Apple-supplier Quanta Computer, finding several code violations related to working hours, recruitment policies, compensation, health and safety, and more in August of 2013 [PDF] (via TechCrunch).
Factories examined included a Quanta facility in Shanghai and one in Changshu. Quanta is a long-time Apple partner that manufactures Apple's MacBook Air and much of the rest of the company's Mac lineup.
Violations were found in both locations, with some of the more egregious issues including verbal abuse by supervisors, a hiring fee charged to workers by a broker or labor dispatch agent and long working hours. According to the report, 62 percent of workers in Changshu received no rest day for much of Q4 2012, working as many as 16 days in a row.
Many workers were also underpaid for sick leave and may have been uncompensated for up to an hour of work each day, based on clock in and clock out times. Some workers were forced into joining the All China Federation of Trade Unions, and there were several safety violations.
Both of the factories fell short of the local requirements for indoor air quality, and neither had easy access to a shower/eyewash station in case of emergency. There was no active worker participation in the Employee Health and Safety committees, and flammable and toxic substances were stored improperly at Shanghai while chemicals at Changshu were not properly monitored.
The Fair Labor Association provided a number of recommendations to improve conditions at the factory, and according to the report, Apple is using the recommendations to work with Quanta to fix each code violation. Apple released a statement on the FLA's Quanta inspection, stating that it has worked closely with Quanta to bring improvements to working conditions.
Our suppliers must live up to the toughest standards in the industry if they want to keep doing business with Apple, which is the first and only technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association. We are committed to providing safe and fair working conditions for everyone in our supply chain.
Last year we conducted 451 comprehensive, in-person audits deep into our supply chain so we could uncover problems and work with our suppliers to fix them. We track and report the weekly working hours for more than 1 million workers, and our 18-month Apple Supplier EHS Academy training program is raising the bar for environment, health and safety management in the industry.
The Quanta facilities inspected by the FLA last year were included in our 2014 Supplier Responsibility report, which we released in February. Our own experts have audited these sites 16 times, most recently last month.
In the year since the FLA’s visit, we have worked closely with Quanta to drive meaningful improvements in areas identified by both the FLA and Apple. Apple conducted four follow-up inspections on top of the annual audits of both facilities, to ensure the needed corrections are in place.
This year, through the end of July, Quanta has averaged 86 percent compliance with our 60-hour workweek. Excessive overtime is not in anyone’s best interest, and we will continue to work closely with Quanta and our other suppliers to prevent it.
Apple initially signed up for factory assessments by the Fair Labor Association back in 2012, following a rash of worker suicides at Foxconn, the factory responsible for assembling many of Apple's mobile devices. The FLA has since helped to improve working conditions in several of Apple's factories, with Apple aiming to bring all workplace compliance standards in line with the FLA's guidelines.
Apple also maintains a Supplier Responsibility team that audits supply chain facilities to ensure compliance with Apple's strict code of conduct preventing underage labor and providing safe, comfortable living conditions for workers. An additional Supplier Responsiblity academic board also evaluates Apple's labor policies and practices and researches labor standards within the supply chain to create ethical working conditions wherever Apple products are produced.