Fair Labor Association Releases Reports on Apple Supplier Quanta’s Factories in China [u]

The Fair Labor Association has published reports on findings from Apple supplier Quanta’s factories in Shanghai and Changshu, China, which took place in August 2013.

According to the FLA, assessors spent four and five days in each facility interviewing employees on production lines, with some interviews conducted off-site as well. There were 389 worker interviews at the Quanta factory in Shanghai and 132 in Changshu.

The report summary found violations in both factories, related to:

  • Recruitment policies – workers reported being charged a recruitment fee by brokers
  • Personnel policies – young workers (aged 16 and 17) were found working overtime
  • Hours of work – workers exceeded FLA limits for overtime
  • Compensation – workers weren’t paid enough for sick leave, and clock-in/out policies were extended past normal hours
  • Freedom of association – workers were automatically part of trade unions with heads nominated by managerial staff—not workers
  • Grievance systems – no way for employees to voice complaints anonymously
  • Health and safety – numerous violations related to air quality, emergency eye/shower washes, improper storage of toxic substances

Yesterday, Apple announced the ban of chemical n-hexane and benzene in supplier factories, part of a move to further increase safety for factory workers.

Back in 2012, Apple initiated inspections of Foxconn factories with the Fair Labor Association to help better worker conditions. The company releases an annual Supplier Responsibility Report to ensure transparency when it comes to how supplier factories treat workers and more.

Update: Apple has released the following statement to TechCrunch on the FLA’s findings:

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.

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