Apple finishes iPod plant investigation

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Apple on Thursday published results from a 10-week investigation into the Foxconn iPod manufacturing plant in China. The plant was the target of allegations in June that Foxconn was mistreating workers. While Foxconn was found to be operating in accordance with Apple’s policies, there were a few items they will need to address.

“We found the supplier to be in compliance in the majority of the areas audited,” Apple’s report reads. “However, we did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address.”

Apple said it had interviewed over 100 randomly selected employees for interviews as part of the investigation. The company also inspected the facilities and reviewed payroll documents and personnel files and found no evidence whatsoever of child labor or any form of forced labor.

The investigation also looked at the living conditions for the workers and although Foxconn did not violate Apple’s Code of Conduct, Apple was not satisfied with three of the dormitories it visited. Foxconn has purchased land and has agreed to build new dormitories to rectify the situation.

While Apple found the payroll process overly complicated, it did not violate the company’s policies. According to Apple all workers were making the local minimum wage and more than half were earning above minimum wage.

There were also no instances that could be found of forced overtime and workers indicated that they could refuse overtime without penalty. However, they did find that employees worked longer than the 60-workweek specified in the Code of Conduct.

Overall the investigation found worker treatment to be good. The company provides an employee grievance process in place, including a telephone hotline, a CEO mailbox for complaints and employee suggestion boxes.

The single largest complaint by interviewed workers was as the lack of overtime during non-peak periods.

Apple said it would complete audits of all final assembly suppliers of Mac and iPod products in 2006 to ensure they are in compliance with its Code of Conduct.

This story, "Apple finishes iPod plant investigation" was originally published by PCWorld.

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