CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 13 (UPI) — Apple Inc. says an independent labor-rights organization it joined last month has begun inspections of working conditions at Apple suppliers’ plants in China.
An audit team from the Fair Labor Association it as the giant Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China, and will interview thousands of employees in Shenzhen and other locations about their working and living conditions, CNN reported Monday.
The FLA team will investigate compensation and working hours, and will also conduct inspections of manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities.
Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest critical suppliers, has drawn intense criticism after a series of suicides at the company’s factories in 2010 drew media attention to alleged harsh working conditions.
Apple says its own supplier audits since 2006 found “core violations” of labor and human rights, including the use of underage workers, excessive work hours and failure to pay proper overtime wages.
After partnering with the FLA, Apple said its suppliers have promised “unrestricted access to their operations” and full cooperation.
“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement.