Report: Apple's Suppliers Continuously Violate Code of Conduct, Apple Does Nothing to Change It
January 27, 2012 4:24 AM
comment(s) - last by
Foxconn factory in China
According to Apple executives and Foxconn management, safety is the last thing on Apple's mind
For hardcore Apple fans, rushing out to buy the next iPhone or iPad is a top priority -- even if it means standing in line for hours. But in the words of an anonymous former Apple executive, most people would be disturbed if they knew where their iPhone came from.
Apple's history with suppliers that are abusive to their employees is no secret.
and Wintek are among Apple's electronics suppliers that have factories in China with horrible working conditions, but no matter how many times violations of Apple's supplier code of conduct are brought to light, the situation remains the same. Now,
The New York Times
has taken a closer look at the bleak environment that the employees of Apple's Asian suppliers are forced to deal with in its second installment of its iEconomy series.
Apple's supplier code of conduct, which was developed in 2005, states "that working conditions in Apple's supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible." While this code was made with good intentions, it is not being upheld entirely by Apple or some of Apple's suppliers. Employees have complained of working long hours, unsafe working conditions and little pay -- all in the name of assembling iPhones, iPads and iPods at a rapid pace.
"You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards," said a current Apple executive, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive topic. "And right now, customers care more about
a new iPhone
than working conditions in China."
Foxconn, which is Apple's electronics supplier in Chengdu, China, is one of the worst offenders of Apple's supplier code of conduct. Employees and worker advocates have both described the horrible conditions that workers must endure. Many work over 60 hours per week, putting in an obscene amount of overtime. Some work 12 hours per day, six days or more per week. Signs on the walls of Foxconn offer reminders such as, "Work hard on the job today or work hard to find a job tomorrow." There are 24-hour shifts, and 70,000 of the employees are crammed into tiny dorms when they have some time off. At times, about 20 workers would be stuffed into a three-bedroom apartment. There were also issues with the employment of under-age workers.
As if exhaustion and crowded living spaces weren't enough, the conditions within the actual factory were well below satisfactory. Aluminum dust clouded the Foxconn factories due to machines that polished iPad cases, and the factories had poor ventilation systems. A Hong Kong advocacy group called Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior published a warning, which was sent to Apple, to let the company know about the potential dangers of aluminum dust buildup.
The warning clearly went unnoticed, since
two Foxconn factories exploded
as a result of the aluminum dust. The first occurred in May 2011 in Foxconn's Chengdu factory, which killed four people and injured another 77. The second occurred in Shanghai and ended up injuring 59 workers while hospitalizing another 23.
The explosions weren't Foxconn's only high-profile issues over the last few years. In 2010, Foxconn's Shenzhen factory, which is responsible for Apple's iPods, iPhones and iPads, experienced a series of employee suicides due to the stressful and exhausting working conditions. There were at least 12 suicides during this time period as well as a riot. To address the issue, Foxconn made employees
promise not to kill themselves
at its facilities.
"Conditions at Foxconn are anything but harsh," wrote Foxconn in a statement after the riot. "All assembly line employees are given regular breaks, including one-hour lunch breaks. Foxconn has a very good safety record. Foxconn has come a long way in our efforts to lead our industry in China in areas such as workplace conditions and the care and treatment of our employees."
Even Apple seemed to defend its supplier's factories overseas. Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, made the factories sound like theme parks.
"I actually think Apple does one of the best jobs of any companies in our industry, and maybe in any industry, of understanding the working conditions in our supply chain," said Jobs. "I mean, you go to this place, and,
it's a factory
, but, my gosh, I mean, they've got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming pools, and I mean, for a factory, it's a pretty nice factory."
Jobs' statement seems to contradict the company's own audits, though. Apple has been publishing audits of its supplier's factories since 2007, and completed 396 walkthroughs by last year. Each year, there have been several and consistent violations to Apple's supplier code of conduct. For instance, in 2007, Apple completed three dozen audits where two-thirds demonstrated employees working over the 60 hour limit. There were also cases of underage workers, falsified records, improper disposal of hazardous waste and cases where workers were paid below minimum wage (or even nothing at all) as punishment.
"Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost," said Li Mingqi, a former Foxconn Technology manager at the Chengdu factory. "Workers' welfare has nothing to do with their interests."
The New York Times
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Waiting for the ironic comment
1/27/2012 9:22:57 AM
I think, for myself, the point to take away from this is the lack of commitment that Apple is showing to its own guidelines. These guidelines are being used to give an image of care and concern for these workers, when really nothing is being done to fix the issues.
I know that a lot of the components in my computers and other electronics come out of these factories, but i can't remember the last time one of these companies said that they follow strict guidelines, then lied to us saying that Foxconn has great factories.
Oh and I am glad I don't use Apple products. Though not for the foxconn issues.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
Foxconn Looks to Replace Humans With Suicide-Proof Robots
August 1, 2011, 10:11 AM
Foxconn Closes Polishing Workshops Following Friday's Blast
May 24, 2011, 9:30 AM
Explosion Rocks Foxconn's iPad 2 Factory, Three Dead
May 23, 2011, 10:10 AM
Foxconn Installs Anti-Suicide Nets at Its Facilities
June 29, 2010, 9:43 AM
Foxconn Makes Employees Promise Not to Kill Themselves
May 27, 2010, 4:07 PM
Samsung Announces Tizen-based Gear S Smartwatch Which Can Make/Receive Phone Calls
August 28, 2014, 12:00 AM
LG Announces G Watch R Smartwatch, Will Launch in Q4
August 27, 2014, 11:45 PM
Archos Offers $99 WinPhone, $150 x86 Win8.1 Tablet, Android Trio
August 27, 2014, 7:07 PM
HTC Desire 510 Officially Announced, May be First 64-Bit Android Smartphone
August 27, 2014, 3:50 PM
Report: Apple to Unveil "iWatch" at iPhone 6 Event on September 9
August 27, 2014, 2:00 PM
Reports: Snapchat is Now Worth $10B, Cofounders are Billionaires to Be
August 27, 2014, 9:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft's Surface 2 Tablet Family Gets a $100 Price Cut
August 25, 2014, 1:16 AM
Report: Microsoft to Announce Windows 9 on September 30
August 21, 2014, 11:20 AM
From HULC to FORTIS: the Evolution of Lockheed Martin's Incredible Exosuit
August 22, 2014, 12:45 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
Owner of "Decepticon" Maserati Ordered to Appear in Court This Thursday
August 25, 2014, 7:55 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information