Apple supplier responsibility report 2017 finds single underage worker

Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

The people that actually assemble Apple products like the iPhone don’t actually work for Apple — the Cupertino giant contracts with manufacturing companies like Foxconn and Pegatron to do it for them.

And since those companies are based in Asia, which have different labor standards than the US, it’s a constant battle for Apple to ensure that its products are built ethically and to its standards.

Apple said on Monday that it performed 705 checks on its various manufacturing facilities in 2016, and found 22 core violations of labor and human rights, including bonded labor violations, falsification of working hours, and harassment violations. 

The report issued on Monday is Apple’s 11th annual report looking at its supply chain. Although the company has faced criticism for working conditions in the past, the company has also been praised for its annual reports and its efforts to increase its supply chain transparency by groups such as Greenpeace. 2016 was the best year for Apple in terms of improvements in the supply chain, according to Paula Pyers, Apple’s senior director of supply chain social responsibility, in an interview with Buzzfeed News

One of the 22 core labor violations Apple found in 2016 was for an underage worker, who was “a 15½-year-old” at the time of the discovery. The legal working age in China is 16. 

Apple required the supplier that hired the child worker to “continue paying their wages while also providing an educational opportunity” and provide him “safe passage” home.

When the underage worker turns 16, the factory this person worked at will be required to provide a job offer, Apple said. 

“There’s absolutely no excuse for anyone under legal working age to be in our supply chain,” Apple said in the report. Apple’s 705 checks covered 1.2 million workers, according to the report. 

“All supplier core violations are escalated directly to senior management at Apple and the supplier,…

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