labor foxconn chart

It seems like for every report we hear that conditions are getting better in Apple’s supply chain factories, there’s another one that dispels the notion. Last week, French reporters snuck inside Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, and things still looked pretty grim.

But that doesn’t mean that Apple’s not trying though. As proof of that, Apple has updated the supplier responsibility page on its website today to show that it is now personally tracking working hours for more than a million supply chain employees…

Here’s an excerpt from the update on Apple’s website, under the Labor and Human Rights section (via MacRumors):

“Ending the industry practice of excessive overtime is a top priority for Apple in 2012. Our approach to reducing excessive working hours has evolved over the years from a small seed program into a comprehensive approach that interlinks training, management consultation, integration with procurement decisions, and verification of work-hour practices and systems.”

Apple says that it now follows weekly supplier data for over 1,000,000 workers in its supply chain — more than double of what it was doing at the beginning of the year. And it says that in November, 88% of supplier workweeks were less than 60-hours.

This update comes at an interesting time, as we’re hearing several reports regarding Foxconn workers being forced into working overtime due to the high demand and complexity of iPhone 5 production. Apple admits that in limited peak periods, it allows work beyond the 60 hour limit, but only for those employees that volunteer for it.

So is Apple doing enough here? I don’t know about enough, but it certainly seems to be doing more than everyone else. Back in January, it was the first tech company to join the FLA, or the Fair Labor Association, which has since conducted numerous factory audits.

What do you think?