Apple begins investigation of iPod factory

Apple Computer on Tuesday confirmed that its investigation into allegations regarding the mistreatment of workers at a Chinese manufacturing plant has begun.

"Apple has begun a thorough audit of the manufacturing plant operated by Foxconn in Longhua, China, including employee working and living conditions, interviews of employees and managers, compliance with overtime and wage regulations, and other areas as necessary to insure adherence to Apple's supplier code of conduct," Apple said in a statement provided to Macworld .

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'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."

"Apple's supplier code of conduct sets the bar higher than accepted industry standards and we take allegations of non-compliance very seriously," read the company's statement.

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter

Comments