iPhone and iPad factory conditions haven't improved says activist group
A Hong Kong-based activist group called The Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior has recently issued a report concluding that very little has change in terms of working conditions since the Fair Labor Association published the results of their in-depth audit. SACOM's conclusions come from the result of over 170 employee interviews and visits to several Foxconn factories. Apparently unreasonably high production targets, inhumane worker treatment and salary cuts "remain the norm". SACOM demanded four changes of Foxconn: proper election of trade union officials, wages in line with living costs, proper training in safety protocols and access to appropriate protection, and sufficient compensation for those who have been infringed upon.
It's good to see another watchdog getting involved with Apple's factories, considering the FLA and Apple are suspiciously cozy. Other groups, like the China Labor Bulletin, agree with SACOM that there hasn't been much other than PR stunts after the audit. SACOM has found that even with the increased wages, the reduced hours have ultimately lowered salaries.
To be fair, it's only been a few months, but one would have hoped that the requested changes were being implemented a little more speedily. At best, Foxconn factories have seen a slightly increased compliance with overtime laws, but the changes needed at iPad and iPhone factories are far more broad than that. Apple has certainly taken an active interest in improving worker conditions, but in the end, Foxconn is their supplier, not their subsidiary, and there's only so much pressure they can apply.