Apple is stepping up efforts to improve its image by showing that its campaign to support fair labor practices has some teeth.
Apple said that in many
cases underage workers are brought into a company by a third-party labor
agent that "willfully and illegally recruited young workers." In the
case of Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics, Apple said it learned
that one of the region’s largest labor agencies, Shenzhen Quanshun
Human Resources Co., Ltd., was responsible for knowingly providing the
underage employees. Apple said it alerted government authorities of
The underage children were returned to their
families, and Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics was required to
pay expenses to facilitate their successful return, Apple said.
will continue to argue that Apple's sudden crusade to ensure fair labor
practices for the people that build its very successful products is a
facade meant only to prop up the company's image. They may also question
how hard Apple is truly looking for violations.
Both are fair
points, particularly the first one. Apple has its own reasons for
promoting fair labor practices, and they have very little to do with
fairness and justice. Apple needs to be vigilant to prevent backlash
from the buying public, who while continuing to snap up Apple products
at a record pace is also (to some degree) developing a conscience about
how those products are made.
But give Apple credit. Whether its
reasons are altruistic or not, Apple is the only electronics company
that appears to be doing anything about stamping out unfair labor
practices in China and other developing countries. Most companies are
more than happy to look the other way.