STUNG BY CRITICISM, Apple has asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct audits at Foxconn's factories in China.
In a statement, Apple said that factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu will be audited at its request. Audits have already begun.
"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."
Foxconn and Apple have been criticised over bad working conditions at the factories, and have faced a number of suicide scandals. Foxconn employs over one million people, and Apple said that the FLA will look to interview thousands of them. Foxconn has promised to work with the auditors and help them in their studies.
Foxconn always insists that it does look after its workers, and in a statement sent to The INQUIRER this week it said that it offers them regular breaks and ensures that they man their stations with smiling faces.
"Foxconn takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our 1.2 million employees in China a safe and positive working environment and compensation and benefits that are competitive with all of our industry peers in that location," it said.
"We are committed to working together with all of our customers to ensure that our employees are treated fairly and their rights are fully protected... Our policies and practices are regularly audited by our internal teams, customers, and government regulators and if any areas for improvement are noted, they are immediately addressed."
It added, in a chilling reminder of the worst that we have heard about Foxconn, that it hass "safety nets in every high-rise building on campuses." µ