No doubt you watched Nightline's special edition about Shenzhen's Foxconn factory where workers assemble iPhones, iPads and Macs. If you missed it, you can watch it online at ABC's website (US only). As we noted last night, the documentary showed a rather clean Foxconn factory filled with young, Chinese workers.
Missing from the show, says Debby Sze Wan Chan of Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), were the underage workers who Foxconn hid during the Fair Labor Association (FLA) inspection.
Speaking to AppleInsider, Chan said "All underage workers, between 16-17 years old, were not assigned any overtime work and some of them were even sent to other departments." She claims two workers in the Zhenghou plant told her Foxconn was "prepared for the inspection."
A similar sentiment was expressed by FLA president Auret van Heerden who said he expects Foxconn to put on a show. Despite Foxconn's careful presentation, van Heerden asserts the FLA's bottom-up interviews could uncover any issues in the factory. It's worthy to note that Apple is a member of the FLA, paid US$250,000 to join the group and funded this latest round of inspections.
Though Apple works with the FLA, Chan claims she has received a cold shoulder from the company. No one within Apple has responded to her requests; supposedly the company even refused to receive reports, documentaries and petition cards from her when she traveled to Apple's California headquarters. A security guard who escorted her out of the building at One Infinite Loop took the paperwork and promised to deliver the items to someone in charge, but she has not heard back from Apple.
Speaking at a recent Goldman Sachs technology conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook told the audience that Apple is working to address underage labor, safety issues, and excessive overtime at its contract factories. Chan, though, doubts Apple has "any commitments to do so."