LONDON – Apple, the company that has set mobile phone and computer trends with its iPhone and iPad, has reported it has a growing problem with its Chinese suppliers using workers under the legal age of 16 years.
Apple has published it latest annual report into the employment practices of its suppliers and revealed rising underage labor, despite its own efforts to address the problem.
Many of Apple's suppliers are in China and in recent years Chinese factories have turned to labor agencies and schools to help them obtain the needed numbers of workers, Apple said in the report. In China the minimum working age is 16 years. Apple commented in its progress report "We learned that some of these recruitment sources may provide false IDs that misrepresent young people’s ages, posing challenges for factory management."
And the problem is getting worse.
Apple's audit in 2010 revealed 91 cases of underage labor. In the equivalent report in 2009, 25 instances were discovered.