Apple CEO Tim Cook has been posing for many a photo op at Foxconn factories recently, but no portraits of him smiling in a rubber suit can eclipse the findings released today in a Fair Labor Association report.
Apple agreed to let the Fair Labor Association audit Foxconn factories in three Chinese cities, and what they found will not do the technology company’s ailing reputation concerning factory conditions any favors. “The findings of FLA’s nearly month-long investigation revealed serious and pressing noncompliances with FLA’s Workplace Code of Conduct, as well as Chinese labor law,” reads the report.
The FLA surveyed 35,500 workers in three different factories. According to the report, they found “at least 50” violations, primarily related to the areas of Working Hours, Health and Safety, Industrial Relations and Compensation. Among the findings, all three factories had workers working more hours than legally allowed, and 14% of workers may not receive fair compensation for scheduled overtime.
Health and safety was also of major concern to the workers interviewed for the report. “The investigation revealed that a considerable number of workers felt generally insecure regarding their health and safety,” it reads. “The issue of aluminum dust was of particular concern, as this was the cause of an explosion at the Chengdu facility last year.”
The report also states that most of the Foxconn workers are overwhelmingly young: the average age is 23, with anywhere from 3.6% to 5.51% of employees only 16-18 years old.
For all of the violations that the FLA found in this audit, Foxconn has agreed to “remedial actions” to help bring the factories up to standard. The report also states that “Apple has committed to ensuring that the FLA code standards are upheld in its supply chain.”
We can only hope that means more than just smiling for the camera.