Apple Supplier Foxconn Raises Workers' Pay

Apple supplier Foxconn has apparently raised employee pay, following negative publicity and a Fair Labor Association inspection of working conditions.

In the wake of the Fair Labor Association€™s inspection of its manufacturing facilities in China, Foxconn has apparently opted to give its workers a pay raise. Apple requested those €œspecial 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 Apple€™s best-selling products. €œThe 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. €œProblems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious€”sometimes deadly€”safety 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. €œWe 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 Apple€™s next Mac OS X version, €œMountain Lion,€ the Times was forced to rely on company press releases for its own article. €œThey are playing access journalism,€ an unnamed Times employee told The Washington Post Feb. 16. €œI€™ve 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.

€œThese 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 petition asking Apple to install a worker-protection strategy and publish the results of the Fair Labor Association€™s monitoring, wrote in a Feb. 17 statement.

€œIt would still be great,€ he added, €œto 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.€

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