New York Apple said Monday that an independent group, the Fair Labor Association, has started inspecting working conditions in the Chinese factories where its iPads and iPhones are assembled.
Amid growing criticism over labor and environmental practices — especially in China — Apple, last month, disclosed a list of suppliers for its popular gadgets for the first time.
The FLA team began the inspections Monday morning at Foxconn City in Shenzhen, China, Apple said Monday. The complex employs and houses hundreds of thousands of workers.
Foxconn, a unit of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. employs an estimated 1 million to 1.1 million people in China at a series of huge factory campuses. Foxconn assembles iPads and iPhones for Apple, Xbox 360 gaming consoles for Microsoft and other gadgets for companies including Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
In 2010, there was a rash of suicides at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant. Plant managers installed nets to prevent more people from committing suicide by jumping from the roof. A May explosion at the company’s Chengdu, China, plant killed three people and injured 15. A New York Times story published Jan. 26 reported on accidents and long hours in Foxconn factories, based on workers’ accounts. Foxconn disputed allegations of back-to-back shifts and crowded living conditions.