In the wake of the Fair Labor Associations inspection of its manufacturing facilities in China, Foxconn has apparently opted to give its workers a pay raise. Apple requested those special voluntary audits, which included factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu.
According to Bloomberg, worker salaries have jumped anywhere from 16 percent to 25 percent.
In late January, The New York Times published a series of reports about working conditions at Foxconn, which builds Apples best-selling products. The workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, read the Times' Jan. 25 piece, which partly drew its information from unnamed factory employees. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serioussometimes deadlysafety problems.
Those reports drew negative attention to Apple. In January, it became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association, and its suppliers apparently opted to cooperate fully with the inspection. We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a Feb. 13 statement.
Meanwhile, the Times report might have blacklisted the newspaper with Apple. Whereas a handful of other media outlets were offered an in-depth briefing of Apples next Mac OS X version, Mountain Lion, the Times was forced to rely on company press releases for its own article. They are playing access journalism, an unnamed Times employee told The Washington Post Feb. 16. Ive heard it from people inside Apple: they said, look, you guys are going to get less access based on the iEconomy series.
Meanwhile, some outside organizations have reacted favorably to the recent moves by Apple and the Fair Labor Association.
These quick responses are great steps in the right direction, and I hope the early signs of a genuine commitment by Apple to make sure that their products are made without abusing workers, Mark Shields, who crafted a Change.org petition asking Apple to install a worker-protection strategy and publish the results of the Fair Labor Associations monitoring, wrote in a Feb. 17 statement.
It would still be great, he added, to see Apple use some of its hallmark creativity to issue a worker-protection plan so that the injuries and suicides that have marked new product launches to date, quickly become a thing of the past.