“Apple has claimed it is making ‘concrete changes for the better’ at the factories that make its products and said criticism of the company makes it ‘stronger,'” Rhiannon Williams reports for The Telegraph. “Jeff Williams, senior vice-president of operations, said Apple was making ‘significant progress’ with the working conditions in its supply chain, despite a string of controveries.”
“Apple conducted 633 audits of its suppliers in the past year, which are designed to improve working conditions and protect the environment, covering some 1.6m workers,” Williams reports. “Of the 210 facilities which were audited for the first time, some were brand new suppliers associated with the forthcoming smartwatch Apple Watch, due to go on sale in April. In many cases, Williams says, these factories have never been audited in the past. These audits, Williams is keen to point out, are working to improve conditions. In the past year, just under $4m ($3.96m) was repaid to foreign contract workers for excessive recruitment fees charged by labour brokers, and close to $900,000 was returned to workers for unpaid overtime.”
“‘ith every audit we perform, we find violations associated with factory and worker safety,’ he said. ‘Sometimes they’re small, but they exist everywhere, and you need trained professionals as part of the factory,'” Williams reports. “The company addressed this worldwide shortage by creating the Apple Supplier Environment, Health and Safety Academy in collaboration with several universities in 2013 – an 18-month course designed to improve working conditions in facilities. More than 600 managers have been enrolled into the programme, and will, Williams hopes, help to impact positively on the entire electronics industry should they move on to work in other companies.”
Read more in the full article here.