By Karen Diep
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
BEIJING, China – Yesterday, Apple terminated its contract with Chinese circuit manufacturer, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co. Ltd., after learning that seventy-four (74) workers were underage.
“Given the high turnover rate in the factories and the production pressure in the peak season, the factories may not strictly comply with labor laws and the code of conduct,” shared Debby Chan, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior.
After being criticized for working conditions of suppliers including Foxconn, Apple joined the Fair Labor Association last year.
Apple has conducted three hundred and ninety three (393) audits, a 72% increase from 2011, of its suppliers as part of its investigation of staff working conditions.
Per The Telegraph, Apple has audited both small and subsidiary suppliers and larger ones such as Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, for working conditions. From the foregoing audits, Apple learned that 95% of the sites conformed with underage labor requirements.
According to BBC News, Apple relayed that a regional recruitment company, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd., provided the underage workers to PZ and even supplied said workers with false identity papers. As a result, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd.’s business license has been revoked.
Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co Ltd, or PZ, makes “a standard circuit board component used by many other companies in other industries,” read a report. Moreover, the report stated that 92% of the 1.5 million workers covered by the audit worked a maximum of 60 hours per week.
“We go deep in the supply chain to find it,” explained Jeff Williams, Apple’s Senior Vice-President of Operations. “And when we do find it, we ensure that the under-age workers are taken care of, the suppliers are dealt with,” continued Mr. Williams.
In October 2012, Foxconn, a China-based iPhone and iPad manufacturer, Foxconn confessed to hiring 14-year-old interns in one of its factories.
“We recognise that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologised to each of the students for our role in this action,” read a statement Foxconn issued.
For more information, please see:
BBC News – Under-age workers found in Apple supply audit – January 25, 2013
Bloomberg – Apple Says China Agent Forged Papers for Underage Workers – January 25, 2013
The Telegraph – Apple audit finds underage workers in China – January 25, 2013