Apple's latest annual Supplier Responsibility report into its third party manufacturing partners has revealed that it has severed business relations with Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics. Apple found, after investigation, that Pingzhou was employing underage staff on its production line. Furthermore Apple discovered that the labor agency supplying the firm had conspired to falsify age documents for the workers, possibly with the assistance of the children's families. Consequently it reported the agency to the Chinese authorities. Apple notes the agency faced a fine and suspension of its license, and that it had to pay expenses to return the children to their homes.
The Chicago Tribune points out that overall Apple had asked its various suppliers to reimburse over $6 million in excess "foreign contract worker fees" and that it had achieved a 92% compliance with the maximum 60-hour working week.
The report underlines the complexities of a company like Apple working in a nation with a vastly different social and economic structure, such as China. Apple rival Samsung, among others, has also found difficulties with underage workers there.
[Image: Flickr user scobleizer]