Following the Fair Labor Association’s investigation into working conditions at Apple’s Chinese manufacturing plants, FLA president Auret van Heerden has stated that the facilities are “far above average” compared to other factories that the FLA monitors, and that the main problems are of “monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps” rather than mistreatment or overworking.
After his first visits to Foxconn, van Heerden said, “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm.”
He spent the past several days visiting Foxconn plants to prepare for the study.
“I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory,” he said. “So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. . It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.”
The investigation was ordered by Apple as an audit of any problems that may exist in the factories. As Tim Cook reiterated during comments made at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference yesterday, Apple takes working conditions very seriously, and has been putting a lot of effort into improving conditions for workers in their supply chain.
The FLA’s final report is not due until March, but these initial statements from the head of the organization seem promising, and may go a long way in reassuring concerned customers, stockholders, and worker’s rights advocates that Apple is doing whatever is necessary to ensure that worker abuse, hiring of underage workers, and other issues do not occur within their supply chain.