Human Rights Org: Rest Of The Industry Needs To Follow Apple’s Lead, Protect Factory Workers

Human Rights Org: Rest Of The Industry Needs To Follow Apple’s Lead, Protect Factory Workers

The first reactions by human rights groups to the Fair Labor Association’s independent audit of Foxconn factory working conditions are in, and there is cautious optimism that the widescale abuse of Chinese factory workers may be on the cusp of coming to an end. But that’s only if the rest of the tech industry follows Apple’s lead.

One group pleased with the new report is Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization that aims to make Americans live up to the founding father’s ideals when it comes to freedom.

Describing the FLA’s report as groundbreaking, Human Right’s Meg Roggensack said: “[This agreement] will safeguard the health and welfare of the comapny’s employees by bringing their work conditions into compliance with basic human rights standards.”

But only if it’s followed.

“The key to the report’s success, however, will be implementation of this agreement,” cautioned Roggensack. “Talk is cheap. The steps needed to protect workers in Apple’s supply chain may not be.”

Furthermore, it’s not just Apple’s supply chain. Every major company in tech — including Dell, Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and more — uses parts, components and manufacturing from Foxconn. If they don’t also look out for the people working in their supply chain, nothing will change.

“All companies that do business with Foxconn, the largest employer in China, should take immediate steps to follow Apple’s lead and insist that working conditions in every one of the company’s factories meet this new industry standard,” Roggensack concluded. “Companies have a responsibility to face the grim reality of current production practices and must commit to reversing them, so that their products are – not just in technical, but in human terms – ‘insanely’ great.”

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  • aardman

    Well what virtuous and compassionate people these Human Rights Org members are. Now let them go and explain to the Foxconn workers who are complaining about the reduced overtime hours that the loss in come is actually good for them, they just don’t know it yet. Google the web, complaints like these are being reported.

    No, I’m not against improved working conditions. What I am against are nosey, do-gooders in the 1st world who think they know what is best for the rest of the world. The problem of working conditions in the 3rd world is more complex than these people think, and if they really are concerned about improving working conditions, the first thing they should do is ask the workers themselves what they want! Those conditions that seem hellish for us might actually be a big improvement for them. And they may actually prefer additional overtime income over more leisure hours.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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