Protest succeeds: Apple seeks audit of Chinese labor conditions
Technology giant Apple, Inc. said Monday it was asking the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate working conditions at Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, essentially caving to the demands of protesters who delivered over 250,000 petition signatures to the company last week.
Foxconn, which hires over 1 million Chinese workers, has been plagued over the years by reports of suicides, and in one instance last year, a group of about 300 people threatened to jump to their deaths if they weren’t given better pay and working conditions.
Foxconn, which makes devices for companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Intel and others, has said it plans to replace most of its workers with robots in the coming years. Meanwhile, the company keeps its human workers in small bunks on site, works them in 12-24 hour shifts, provides little food or medical assistance, and oversees their daily duties with military-like precision using advance surveillance techniques.
Apple, for its part, joined the FLA in January as criticism against Foxconn was mounting. They became the first tech company to partner with the Washington, D.C. group, which is dedicated to stamping out sweat shops throughout the world. Other FLA partners include Nike, Barnes & Noble, Liz Blaiborne, Inc., Puma AG and American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
After last week’s petitions, the company decided it was time to pull the trigger on their FLA membership rights, so Apple asked that the group to begin fair labor inspections of Foxconn’s facilities.
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