The ongoing story of Apple’s relationship to workers in Asia who make their devices unfolds in a somewhat positive direction as Apple reports increased efforts to curtail insanely long working hours and weekly schedules, as explained in a Supplier Responsibility report. Apple now boasts 95 percent compliance with a mandate to keep work weeks down to 60 hours and has even moved to hire more workers. Apple’s own website tells the tale:[quote]In our effort to end the industry practice of excessive overtime, we’re working closely with our suppliers to manage employee working hours. In January and February 2012, we collected weekly data on more than 500,000 workers employed by our suppliers. February results showed a continued upward trend from January, with 89 percent compliance to the 60-hour work week specified in our code. The data collected in March 2012 for this same set of suppliers demonstrated substantial improvement again, with compliance increasing to 95 percent.[/quote] [quote]Encouraged by the success of this program to date, we expanded our weekly tracking to even more facilities deeper in the supply chain, and we are now monitoring compliance for over 800,000 workers. For this broader set of suppliers, we saw 91 percent compliance in March. We will continue to share our progress with this expanded group of suppliers in the coming months.[/quote]
There’s no doubt that watchful eyes must still rest on Apple at this juncture because, despite making our favorite tech products, a corporation only lives up to its moral or social responsibilities to the extent that we demand.