Uh-Oh: Apple Suppliers Violating Company’s Conduct Codes
Posted 11/19/2009 at 2:50pm | by J.R. Bookwalter
Like any large corporation with a lot of wheels in motion all over the world, Apple Inc. spends a considerable amount of time, energy and hard-earned dollars making sure its manufacturing partners are enforcing their strict codes of conduct. But a recent report finds that the company may have a long way to go.
According to 9to5Mac.com, factory workers in consumer electronics manufacturing overseas already have a tough go of it when compared to their U.S. counterparts. Most of them make less than a dollar an hour in wages, can be let go without any reason (or even a warning), work in sweatshop-like conditions and have few rights to challenge their conditions.
As such, Apple and other high-profile tech companies devote a lot of time to making sure their contracted suppliers follow established codes of conduct, regularly conducting audits of those factories to catch abuse.
“Our audits are done across all our suppliers,” explains Apple spokesperson Jill Tan. “It’s a pretty rigorous process, and we take corrective actions as and when required. We audit aggressively, and post all results on our website.”
But according to Apple’s supplier responsibility update in February, 2009, the company’s own findings indicate that nearly 60% of the suppliers are actually violating their code of conduct, both on work hours and days off.
Among the violations are underpayment for overtime and deducting salary as punishment, but Apple also discovered that some factories were falsifying records, employing underage workers and hiring laborers who had paid “recruitment fees” exceeding the legal limit.
The update doesn’t establish which steps are being taken to rectify the current situation, but a five-part special report coming from GlobalPost, including interviews with workers in Taiwan, the Phillippines and southern China, is expected to shed more light on the situation soon enough. Stay tuned.