Feeds

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

Critics argue some abuses are still being ignored

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.