Apple cuts off supplier employing underage workers

Apple is clamping down on its suppliers

Apple has dropped one of its suppliers after it discovered the China-based company employed underage workers.

According to Apple's Supplier Responsibility Report, the Cupertino company audited the supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics (PZ), and found a conspiracy to employ 74 child workers. It reported the supplier - which allegedly conspired with the children's families to provide false documents - to local authorities, who suspended PZ's license and hit it with a fine.

A discovery with "far-reaching impact"

"The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return," reads the Apple report. "In addition, the company that subcontracted its work to PZ was prompted by our findings to audit its other subcontractors for underage labour violations - proving that one discovery can have far-reaching impact."

This is part of a big push by Apple to clamp down on poor working conditions and labour violations in its supplier factories, following last year's investigation by the Fair Labor Association. Apple's report says it conducted 393 audits in its supply chain last year, which is a 72 per cent increase on 2011.

It posted a statement on its website recently concerning labour and human rights.

Speaking to Reuters, Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of operations, said no expense was spared to root out labour violations. "We go deep in the supply chain to find it," he said. "And when we do find it, we ensure that the underage workers are taken care of, the suppliers are dealt with."

Via CNET, Reuters

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.