Apple investigating iPod factory allegations

Apple Computer on Wednesday said it is investigating allegations regarding the mistreatment of workers in plants that produce its popular iPod. Apple doesn’t run the plants themselves, but have committed to the investigation.

“We are currently investigating the allegations regarding working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China,” said Apple in a statement provided to Macworld . “We do not tolerate any violations of our supplier code of conduct.”

Apple’s code of conduct is available on its Web site and includes clauses on harsh treatment and harassment, child labor, working hours, remuneration, and human rights among others.

According to Apple’s policy, “suppliers must pay wages, benefits, and overtime to workers in accordance with applicable laws, including those related to minimum wages, overtime, hours, and legally mandated benefits. Suppliers may not discriminate based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, or marital status. The basis on which workers are being paid must be clearly conveyed to them in a timely manner.”

A recent report put the monthly salary of factory workers at £27 (US$50). Workers at a different company that produces the iPod shuffle were paid £54 per month. These workers also paid for their own room and board, which amounted to around half of their salary.

While the report said that the manufacturing relationship between Apple and Hon Hai is typical in the electronics industry, Apple said it is committed to the welfare of workers that manufacture its products.

“Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible,” the company said.

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