The FLA publishes initial report on Foxconn factories: they aren’t sweatshops

Today, the Fair Labor Association published its highly anticipated report on the working conditions inside Foxconn’s factories. Apple joined the FLA earlier this year amidst an onslaught of criticism that it was neglecting its supplier responsibilities.

We’ve heard horror stories about what goes on inside the facilities where our iPhones and iPads are made — most of which depicted a sweatshop-like atmosphere with underaged workers. But the FLA’s report paints a different picture…

A team from the non-profit labor-rights organization arrived in Shenzhen China last month to conduct an Apple-commissioned audit of the working conditions inside Foxconn’s factories. The group surveyed 35,000 employees from three plants on their living and working conditions, compensation and working hours. And also performed a thorough inspection of all of the buildings.

The audit resulted in the discovery of several labor-rights violations — mainly excessive overtime, insufficient compensation, and health concerns. But there were no signs of slave-like employee handling or underaged workers like we’ve heard in recent reports.

While this doesn’t excuse Foxconn for the above-mentioned issues, it’s clear that these factories aren’t sweatshops. And the good news is that the company has promised to work with the FLA to correct all of its violations, including reducing employee hours.

Furthermore, this audit was just the first of many scheduled by the Fair Labor Association. The organization says that by the time its assessment is finished, it will have covered more than 90% of the facilities where Apple products are assembled.

Click here to read the FLA’s full report.

What’s your take on the Foxconn audit?

[CNN Money]