Apple claims progress for workers in its supply chain

Apple has ended the practice of bonded labor in its supply chain, the company revealed as it released a bevy of statistics about its ongoing efforts to improve working conditions for the army of employees who assemble iDevices overseas.

In October, Apple informed its suppliers that no employees making Apple products could be charged recruitment fees, the company disclosed in its annual supplier responsibility progress report. Previously, the company had capped recruitment fees paid by workers at one month’s net wages and required suppliers to reimburse excess fees.

“That fee needs to be paid by the supplier and Apple ultimately bears that fee when we pay the supplier and we’re OK doing that,” Jeff Williams, Apple senior vice president of operations, told Bloomberg. “We just don’t want the worker to absorb that.”

In addition, Apple said it boosted compliance with its 60-hour maximum workweek requirement, expanded its audits of suppliers and made strides rooting conflict minerals out of its supply chain.

Apple has come under intense scrutiny for the treatment of workers in its supply chain, with the BBC last year releasing a documentary that questioned whether conditions had improved.

Apple said it conducted 633 audits covering more than 1.6 million workers in 2014, up from 451 audits the previous year. In addition, 30,000 workers were phoned about their working conditions.

92 percent of the supply chain complied with the 60-hour maximum work week, according to Apple.

Above: Jeff Williams, Apple senior vice president of operations, says the company has improved conditions for workers in its supply chain (Apple).


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