Over the past few years Apple has been working hard to regulate the work it outsources overseas. One way it’s been accomplishing this goal is through increasingly rigorous auditing which, as of late, has caught the attention of the media. In Apple’s most recent “Supplier Responsibility” report they divulge that three facilities were discovered during their last audit that had previously hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum age for employment is 16. Additionally, they found more than 60 separate facilities where employees were overworked, 24 factories that were paying under minimum wage, and 57 who didn’t offer all the required benefits.
In an attempt to rectify the situation Apple has established extensive training programs to educate workers of their rights. Through this training over 128,000 workers received information outlining their rights and over 5,000 supervisors and managers received specific training on their responsibilities to their employees. Apple even went so far as to stop doing business with at least one supplier after finding repeated violations and “inadequate actions” to address the problems. Apple withheld the names of its suppliers and manufactures however the audit took place in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Philippines, and the US.
In a similar, though less rigorous, audit that took place last year 25 separate instances of underage employment were discovered. 19 of these were historical instances (as were all discovered this year) though the other six cases involved actively working 15 year olds. In a response to this Apple forced the companies to send the workers home while continuing to give them a full salary until they became of age. It’s clear that Apple is on the right path and it’s a shame so many other companies tend to turn a blind eye to this sort of blatant abuse of human rights. The majority of the audited manufactures said Apple was the only vendor to perform such rigorous compliance checks.