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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 25 April, 2014

Investigation finds ‘significant issues’ at Apple manufacturer’s factories

Most workers making iPhones and iPads said they were not paid enough to cover “basic needs”, the probe found.

An Apple store in Shenzhen
An Apple store in Shenzhen
Image: Yuan shuiling/AP/Press Association Images

AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION into conditions the factories of Apple’s primary supplier of iPhones and iPads has found “significant issues” with working practices.

The probe reported a large number of accidents at three factories operated by Chinese firm Foxconn, which hit headlines after an explosion killed two workers last year.

Conditions have improved since the blast apparently caused by aluminium dust, the report by the Fair Labor Association said. However, 43 per cent of employees still said they had either experienced or witnessed an accident.

There was also evidence suggesting that a minority of workers were not being paid fairly for overtime. Meanwhile, some 64 per cent of employees said their wages did not cover their “basic needs”.

The report raised concerns over extremely long working hours. Some employees worked more than seven days in a row without a day off, while all three factories had staff working more than 60 hours per week. Worker unions were found to be dominated by representatives of management.

The investigation covered more than 35,000 workers at the three factories.

“The Fair Labor Association gave Apple’s largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan,” its CEO Auret van Heerden said, adding that the FLA had requested a number of changes in working practices.

Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we will verify progress and report publicly.

Foxconn have committed to reducing overtime and protecting workers’ pay, the FLA said. The company has also said it will record all accidents in which workers are injured, and pay out retrospectively for overtime accrued by workers.

Poll: Would low paid workers report put you off buying Apple products?>

More: Apple supplier Foxconn audited by independent group>

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