Apple Breaks Ties With Supplier For Employing Underage Workers

By Shailesh Shrivastava email: s.shrivastava@mobilenapps.com | Jan 25, 2013 05:36 AM EST

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Apple's latest Supplier Responsibility report is out, and this time it has come with a shocker. The latest report found the company's one of the supplier's employing 74 workers under the age of 16, which is against the code of conduct of the company.

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The report also says that the third-party supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co., Ltd. (PZ) had forged documents of all the underage employees.

Apple also found out that a very famous labor agency, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources Co., Ltd. (Quanshun), registered in Shenzen and Henan provinces of China, knowingly provided the children to its supplier. Quanshun conspired with the families of the children and forged the verification documents in order to make the employees officially appear older than they were.

After finding out the violation, Apple snapped its ties with PZ and also reported the matter to the provincial governments.

"We also alerted the provincial governments to the actions of Quanshun. The agency had its business license suspended and was fined. The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return. In addition, the company that subcontracted its work to PZ was prompted by our findings to audit its other subcontractors for underage labor violations-proving that one discovery can have far-reaching impact," Apple said in the report.

It is not the first case when Apple's supplier violated involved child labor for executing the Cupertino-based company's order. Last year, Apple's major supplier, Foxconn admitted of breaching the child labor law and employing interns as young as 14 years.

"A small number of student interns employed in the summer were between 14 to 16 years old. Now Foxconn has begun to send those underage interns back to school. These underage interns were mainly sent to Foxconn by schools, but Foxconn did not check the IDs of these young interns. The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible, but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers," China Labor Watch had reported.

The report also included that these interns were not given even a single day off from work and they were forced to work extra hours in order to complete their targets.

For the Supplier Responsibility report 2013, the company conducted 393 audits in 2012 at all levels of its supply chain covering facilities where more than 1.5 million workers make Apple products. The number is a 72 percent increase over 2011. This total number of audits includes 55 focused environmental audits and 40 specialized process safety assessments to evaluate suppliers' operations and business practices.

In addition, Apple also conducted 27 targeted bonded labor audits to protect workers from excessive recruitment fees.

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