Apple has terminated business with a Chinese factory that it found had employed 42 underage workers.
In Apple's "Supplier Responsibility" internal review released today, the company said that the factory accounted for nearly half of the 91 underage workers its contractors employed in 2010 to build products such as iPhone smartphones, iPad tablets and Macintosh computers. Apple decided to cut ties with this specific contractor factory because it had "determined that management had chosen to overlook the issue and was not committed to addressing the problem."
Apple says that the factory had been working with a vocational school that had "falsified student IDs and threatened retaliation against students who revealed their ages during audits." Apple reported the school to "appropriate authorities in the Chinese government."
Apple chose to maintain its contracts with the nine other factories that employed a total of 49 underage workers last year, since those factories agreed to cooperate with Apple's policies designed to "prevent employment of underage workers." Apple says that it has furthermore launched a training program to prevent any future hiring of workers under the age of 16, which is the legal age to work in China.
It wasn't just child labor that Apple had to correct last year, however, as the company also reported finding several other "core violations" to its labor standards. Among them were:
In addition to reporting on labor standards violations, Apple reported the findings of its investigation into the 10 suicides that occurred last year at its Shenzhen facility of Foxconn. Apple's "independent team" of suicide prevention specialists made several recommendations to reduce the likelihood of suicides in the facility, including "better training of hotline staff and care center counselors and better monitoring to ensure effectiveness."
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