An industry-backed labor group that Apple asked to study working conditions among its Chinese suppliers reported that working conditions had improved overall but that employees were still working excessive overtime.
The Fair Labor Assn. released its latest audit Thursday in a series of reports about conditions in Chinese plants operated by Foxconn, one of Apple's largest suppliers.
The group described Apple's and Foxconn's efforts to improve harsh conditions as "robust." But in the three factories the group inspected, excessive working time was still a problem."Progress has been made with respect to hours of work, but the three factories are not in compliance with Chinese labor law regarding hours of work," the report says. "The FLA expects that participating company Apple will continue to monitor compliance at Foxconn with respect to this standard and others and will report on their monitoring efforts to the FLA on an annual basis."
The FLA is a nonprofit group that was originally sponsored by apparel makers and shoe companies such as Nike to monitor working conditions in overseas factories. Apple became the first technology company to join the FLA.
In the FLA's latest report, the group said the three factories it had inspected had reached most of the goals set out in a plan established last year.
"We are proud of the progress we have made together with the FLA and Foxconn," Apple said in a statement. "Our suppliers must live up to the toughest standards in the industry if they want to keep doing business with Apple."
The biggest remaining issue appears to be work schedules. The FLA reported that at least half of 170,000 employees worked more hours than allowed under Chinese law.