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Apple Concludes iPod City Investigation

Last month, reports began circulating about poor working and living conditions at the so-called Foxconn “iPod City” manufacturing facility where Apple’s iconic iPod portable media players are assembled. The story was first broken by the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday; reports suggested that workers were crowded into cramped dormitories, threatened with physical punishment, and drilled in military-like fashion on the roofs of the manufacturing facilities.

Today, Apple announced the results of its investigation into practices at the facility, finding that its supplier in compliance with the majority of the company’s code of conduct (PDF), which mandates safe working conditions, safeguards for worker rights, health, and safety, and protections for the environment.

As part of its investigation, Apple interviewed 100 randomly selected employees, (including 83 line workers, 9 supervisors, and 5 executives, and 3 guards and custodians), as well as examined conditions on factory floors, employee dormitories, dining halls, and recreation areas. Apple found no instances of child labor or forced labor, but did find that workers were working hours in excess of the company’s limits on hours worked per day and days worked per week. Apple was also not satisfied with living conditions in three off-campus dorms used as interim housing. Apple also found the pay structure at the plant complex (and too difficult for workers and managers to effectively understand and communicate) and methods for managing overtime were error-prone and subject to dispute. Apple also uncovered two instances of harsh discipline where employees were forced to stand at attention.

To resolve these issues, Apple has hired workplace standards organization Verité to ensure workplace standards are improved and Apple’s suppliers comply with the company’s code of conduct.

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