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Apple bans bonded labour at China factories

Apple has banned ‘bonded servitude’ at its supply chain factories across China in hopes of improving working conditions.

Prior to the ban, third-party recruiters would charge workers a fee for securing them a job at an Apple factory.

This meant that many workers would start their factory careers already in debt, and feel forced to stay on at the firm if only to pay off outstanding fees.

Apple, however, decided that the responsibility of funding recruitment should not fall on the prospective employee, but the employer instead.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s Senior VP of Operations, said: “That fee needs to be paid by the supplier, and Apple ultimately bears that fee when we pay the supplier, and we’re okay with doing that.”

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Fees would previously be charged at rates as high as the equivalent of an entire month’s salary – sometimes more – with some workers even having their passports confiscated.

The new ban was outlined as part of a new audit by the company into its factory conditions.

Apple came until fire last year, after BBC Panorama launched an investigation into poor working conditions at the California-based company’s supply chain factories across the east.

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