Apple has announced today that it has agreed to allow an independent commission to investigate the conditions faced by workers at a number of Chinese factories where 90 per cent of its products are assembled.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request. A team of labour rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections on Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City.
“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”
The investigation will include interviews with thousands of employees regarding their working and living conditions, health and safety, working hours and communication with management. As well as Foxconn, factories belonging to Quanta and Pegatron will also be inspected.
The FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website. This announcement comes as Apple shares have passed $500 for the first time, highlighting just profitable the company is becoming.