Feeds

FLA, Apple and Foxconn shake on new deal for Chinese workers

Critics argue some abuses are still being ignored

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Critics, however, argued that the inspection really just uncovered the tip of the iceberg – it only visited three factories initially and there were reports from non-profit group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) that factory bosses were tipped off about the inspections, giving workers extra breaks and hiding underage workers.

Debby Chan, a project officer for Hong Kong-based SACOM, questioned the low number of interns working at the factories during the inspections – 519 compared to an average of 27,000 per month in 2011.

“On page ten, the report concedes that the use of student labour is to cope with the problem of seasonality. However, it has not found cases of interns who were forced to work at Foxconn, the victims of involuntary labour,” she told The Reg.

“The use of student workers seems to be very insignificant in March. There can be two reasons: (1) it is low season in the factories; (2) students were sent away because of the factory inspections.”

Indeed there is no mention of the problem in the accompanying FLA press release aside from vague assurances about adapting the internship program in the future.

Also missing are mentions of the harsh management practices which many believe contributed to the suicides of countless Foxconn staff in the past. Even the word ‘suicide’ is not mentioned once in the report.

Chan argued that while none of the abuses uncovered in the report are new, they may be taken seriously this time.

“The labour rights violations stated in the report have been mentioned a long time ago. Apple simply ignored those issues,” she argued.

“The demand from consumers now for ethical Apple products is an impetus for changes in the supply chain. However, to make the change sustainable, there must be participation from the workers. They should have the right to form genuine unions through democratic elections.”

She also rejected claims that the cost of Apple and other goods could rise as a result of changes to pay and conditions at the factories, saying that labour costs form only a tiny percentage of the final sales price.

In the end, Apple and Foxconn have until July 2013 to make these changes and if consumer pressure continues then the guarantees are likely to be met, but there are few ways to genuinely know what goes on inside these factories without the threat of continuous, unannounced and fully independent inspections.

Apple did not immediately reply to a request for further comment on the news. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?