GADGET DESIGNER Apple found 106 cases of underage workers being employed to make its products during factory audits in 2012.
Apple came in for stinnging criticism in 2011 after a spate of suicides at Foxconn that led to the discovery of terrible working conditions and shamed Apple into conducting factory audits. The company just published its 2012 summary in which it found 106 "active cases" of underage labour, with one factory using 74 underage workers.
According to Apple's Supplier Responsibility report, the firm found in one case that "the extent of the violation was pervasive, finding 74 cases at one facility, so we terminated business with the supplier". However, Apple didn't say what action it took with the employers of the other 32 instances of child labour.
Aside from child labour, Apple also found that 72 factories had inadequate hazard monitoring, meaning that workers could have been exposed to harmful workplace practices. The company used the example of a lack of dosimeters for X-ray machine operators to characterise the dangers it found.
Apple has significantly increased the number of audits it carries out on its suppliers in order to avoid the negative press that it attracted through its close association with Foxconn. The firm is also in the midst of bringing some production back to the US, while Foxconn has also said that it is looking into the possibility of building a factory in the US. µ
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