After Apple CEO Tim Cook said, that conditions of workers in China has been improved, Apple has a new stamp that can make its claim credible.
The working conditions in a Chinese factory making iPads for Apple is better than the norm. This is what Fair Labor Associtation (FLA) has said in its preliminary comments.
The FLA is conducting inspections of Apple’s plants in China as part of the company’s membership in the organization. The report has come in the wake of criticism Apple has received on its factory working conditions.
Auret Van Heerden, president of the FLA, did not offer conclusions on his organization’s inspection of a Foxconn plant. He told Reuters:
“The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm. I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.”
Mr. Van Heerden said that many workers in these factories often came directly from rural conditions. Thus, they found themselves plunked down in the middle of high tech, big-city living. As such, they needed emotional support and FLA had been working for it for long.
Van Heerden also pointed out that monotony and boredom were bigger problems than extreme working conditions in the factories. He said that these problems contributed to suicides at some factories in China.
“You have lot of young people, coming from rural areas, away from families for the first time. They’re taken from a rural into an industrial lifestyle, often quite an intense one, and that’s quite a shock to these young workers.”
According to Reuters,about 30 FLA staffers conducted unannounced inspections at the one iPad factory visited so far. Those inspections included questioning sessions with many workers at the same time. Workers anonymously answered their answers onto an iPad, where those answers are uploaded directly to FLA servers.
Questions included whether or not they were paid a fee, how they were hired, if they signed contracts and if so, whether or not they understood them, whether or not their complaints are acted upon, and questions about their emotional well-being.
Lastly, Mr. van Heerden rejected questions from Reuters about whether or not the FLA would paint a rosy picture of Apple’s factories on behalf Apple Inc.
“Apple didn’t need to join the FLA. The FLA system is very tough. It involves unannounced visits, complete access, public reporting. If Apple wanted to take the easy way out there were a whole host of options available to them. The fact that they joined the FLA shows they were really serious about raising their game.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook also spoke passionately about this issue of worker conditions at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. During his interview/speech at the event, he said:
“Now, I realize that the supply chain is complex and I’m sure that you realize this. And the issues surrounding it can be complex, but our commitment is very, very simple: We believe that every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely. And Apple suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple.”
Now the enemies of Apple who refuse see the pathetic conditions of companies like Nintendo and Microsoft must apologize to Apple because comments from FLA are second embarrassment to them, after the clean-chit from labor activist Li Quiang.
Source: The Mac Observer