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FLA investigation into Foxconn finds 'significant issues'

In the first findings of its investigations into labor practices, the Fair Labor Association said it found “significant issues” at three factories in China. At the same time, in a report released Thursday, the organization said it also secured “groundbreaking commitments” to reduce the hours workers put in and better the health and safety conditions for employees.

During its more than 3000-staff-hour investigation, which included a survey of more than 35,000 Foxconn employees, the FLA uncovered a number of problems. Among them were frequent examples of overtime exceeding the Chinese government’s legal limits. In addition, accidents—many of which went unreported—foster a concern for health and safety at the facilities, according to the FLA. Compensation was also an area of worry in the report, both for overtime as well simply meeting the basic standard of living.

Foxconn told the FLA it plans to reconcile most of these problems, through a variety of means: The company intends to meet overtime standards from both the Chinese government and the FLA itself, improve compensation packages, build new housing and canteen facilities, and more. Foxconn has already put in place a regulation that supervisors and workers are required to report all accidents that involve an injury.

During its investigation, the FLA also immediately corrected a number of safety hazards, including blocked exits, poor protective equipment, and missing permits. The FLA plans to verify both Apple’s and Foxconn’s plans for improving the situation and continue issuing public reports.

Apple annually releases its own supplier reports, but the company announced in January that it would be joining the FLA, and asking the organization to conduct its own independent audit.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was in China at the time of the report’s release, where he met with Beijing’s mayor, China’s vice premier, and other government officials. Speaking at an investor conference in February, Cook said that “Apple takes working conditions very, very seriously, and we have for a very long time.”

Macworld will continue to update this piece with further details from the FLA’s report.

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