Apple Inc. is stepping up efforts to improve its image by showing that its campaign to support fair labor practices has some teeth.
On Thursday (Jan. 24), Apple reported terminating a relationship with one of its China-based suppliers after an audit concluded the supplier had more than 70 employees under the age of 16.
In its annual supplier responsibility report, Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) said it severed its relationship with Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co. Ltd. in January 2012 after its auditors discovered 74 cases of workers under the age of 16. Apple described this as "a core violation of our code of conduct." Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics supplies a standard circuit board component that is used by many companies, Apple said.
Bowing to public pressure after scrutiny over the working conditions at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. and other key suppliers, Apple one year ago became the first electronics firm to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a watchdog group that independently assesses and monitors working conditions in factories around the world. Hon Hai, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer with extensive operations in mainland China, operates under the trade name Foxconn.
Apple's 2013 supplier responsibility report also offered some good—and surprising—news. In 2012, Apple said it found no cases of underage labor at any of its final assembly suppliers, presumably including Foxconn. "While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier," Apple said. "Many suppliers tell us that we are the only company performing these audits, so when we do find and correct problems, the impact goes far beyond our own suppliers."
Well Dylan, you seem very focused on Apple per se and how Apple are cleaning their image.
But you mention nothing about the follow up of what will happen to the workers that have just lost their jobs? Any redundancy money by Apple?
Probably they will be forced to work in less favourable conditions since their family are depending on them for income.
Quite an ignorant minded article if I may say!
It isn't Apple's responsibility to compensate employees that are working illegally and get caught if Apple didn't hire them (either directly or indirectly "knowingly"). If anything, that should be the responsibility of the company that did hire them in the first place. How is that any different than, say, the US Federal Government penalizing companies for hiring illegal immigrants? Should the Federal Government then compensate the illegals that lost their jobs?
What are the laws in China in regard to age? I'm not saying one should consider local values in regard to dealing with non-national corporations, but it shouldn't be the only consideration. If I recall correctly, people in China aren't required to go through the equivalent of 12th grade over there (and it may not even be publicly tax-payer supported like it is in the USA). So, if these people are doing jobs that don't require the high level of education and skill, and are trying to support themselves (or their families) honestly and because they currently can't afford further education, ... then how is it 'right' to terminate their employment.
What's wrong with starting to work at 14,15, or 16? I started working ~12-13 years old, delivering newspaper, mowing lawn, snow plowing, etc. I learned early on that it's a hard way to make $, so I decided to study a little harder and was the first in my family to go to college and earn an engineering degree.
Positive news on the child labor front should be celebrated. I have no doubt that there are adults in China seeking employment and the children have a better chance to get an education. It will take time but the news of this decision by Apple will surely be heard far beyond the walls of the company that was directly impacted.
I was wondering the same thing. Like GeLy said below, I too started working long before age 16. It was part-time of course, and school was top priority. In many states, American youth are not legally required to attend school past age 16.