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Apple's Chinese factory violations could lead to price hike for customers

applelogo022212_optBY BOB HOLT

A near month-long investigation of Apple’s Chinese factories, initiated by the tech magnate itself, has found a number of issues there with Chinese labor laws.

Apple has received severe criticism about the conditions at its Chinese manufacturers, and called on the Fair Labor Association to investigate earlier in the year.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Association found employees working excessive overtime and not being compensated properly, health and safety violations, and some unsafe working conditions among workers. All three of Apple’s Chinese factories were found to go above the FLA guideline of 60 working hours per week and Chinese legal limits of 49 hours per week and 36 hours maximum overtime each month.

Two explosions occurred at two factories in Chengdu in 2011, injuring 77 workers and killing four. In the findings, 43 percent of workers reported that they have been in or witnessed an accident. Also, the factories experienced a number of suicides in 2011.

Apple "fully accepted" the report of the FLA, according to the BBC. The company said, "We share the FLA's goal of improving lives and raising the bar for manufacturing companies everywhere.”

The manufacturer has also promised changes, as Foxconn plans to reduce employee hours by July 1, 2013. If that happens, the work force will need to be increased significantly to continue the current level of production. According to ABC News, Foxconn promised that workers will not lose income due to the overtime cutbacks.

Foxconn manufactures products in China for Apple along with Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, and employs about 1.2 million workers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been in China this week meeting with vice premier Li Keqiang and touring Apple’s factories. Jena McGregor of the Washington Post suggests that costs of equipment at the factories will likely rise if everyone complies with the FLA recommendations, and those costs may be passed on to consumers.

Comments (1)
1 Sunday, 01 April 2012 11:42
Fernando Gonzalez
I don't care if the cost of employee safety and improved working conditions are passed on to the customers. Corporations aren't concerned by the human factor of business. That is why things are manufactured so cheaply by sweat shops and slave drivers, because of their careless considerations to workers feelings and well being. Perhaps some of those jobs can return to the U.S.A where the workforce demands workers rights and proper treatment of employees. Overwork and under pay and treat employees like crap, and drive up profits seems to be most business's mantra these days.

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