Apple bans ‘bonded servitude’ at supplier factories worldwide

“Apple Inc. is requiring factories to pay recruitment fees for employees instead of saddling new hires with the costs, in a change to a controversial labor practice that has attracted widespread criticism,” Tim Higgins reports for Bloomberg. “”

“The maker of iPhones informed suppliers in October that it would prohibit any worker on an Apple line from being charged such expenses, which is a practice known as bonded labor, the Cupertino, California-based company said in its annual supplier audit released Wednesday,” Higgins reports. “‘That fee needs to be paid by the supplier and Apple ultimately bears that fee when we pay the supplier and we’re OK doing that,’ Jeff Williams, Apple senior vice president of operations, said Wednesday in an interview. ‘We just don’t want the worker to absorb that.'”

“As part of the study — the ninth from Apple — the company conducted 633 audits covering 1.6 million workers in 19 countries. That’s 182 more audits than in the report covering 2013,” Higgins reports. “‘We care deeply about every worker in Apple’s global supply chain,’ Williams wrote in the report. ‘To improve their lives, we continue to proactively tackle issues that are part of the broader challenges facing our world today — human rights and equality, environmental protection, and education.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Could adopt a corporate structure that hired those employees directly. There was a term for that floating around, I think “Industrial Revolution”. Probably the most direct way to ensure ethical treatment of those at the bottom of Apples cash machine.

      1. I am, but only sort of. The contract electronics assembly industry in Taiwan and China is unique. It is agile in the utmost and Apple certainly doesn’t want to have an albatross of company owned manufacturing facilities around its neck.

        OTOH, the way contract assembly is able to be so agile is on the backs of the workers, who are disposable. Those are conflicting goals that Apple will have a hard time getting their suppliers to resolve in a truly humane way.

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