The Fair Labor Association (FLA) has reported that the working conditions at Chinese manufacturing plants where iPads and iPhones are being built are better conditions than other facilities elsewhere in the country like garment factories. The FLA has started a study of the working conditions at Apple’s top 8 suppliers in China ever since there were several reports of worker suicides.
The FLA president Auret van Heerden did not offer any immediate conclusions on the working conditions. They believe that stress and boredom led some workers to commit suicide. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” stated Heerden when visiting Foxconn plants.
“I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory,” he added. “So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. . It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.”
The FLA was created after the former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1996 pushed for the reduction of sweatshop labor. The board of the FLA includes executives from Nike and Adidas. About 30 FLA staff members are visiting 2 Foxconn factories in Shenzhen.