By: Gigaom
Apple ends contract with Chinese supplier over underage workers
In its 2013 Supplier Responsibility Report, Apple names one company with more than 70 incidents of hiring workers younger than 16 to work on assembling circuit boards used in Apple products.

It’s been a year since a New York Times investigation put the labor practices of Apple’s manufacturing partners under close public scrutiny, and the company is still rooting out human rights violations in its supply chain. In its 2013 Supplier Responsibility Report, Apple revealed that it ended a contract with a circuit board supplier that repeatedly contracted workers younger than 16.

Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics Co. makes a circuit board component that Apple uses. “Our auditors were dismayed to discover 74 cases of workers under age 16—a core violation of our Code of Conduct. As a result, we terminated our business relationship with PZ,” Apple’s report reads.

It’s not clear which device or devices used the PZ circuit board. Apple said a third-party labor recruiter was bringing in underage workers to PZ. In the report, Apple said it reported the supplier to the proper authorities in China, and also regularly makes suppliers aware of agents or recruiters known to hire underage workers.

PZ is the only company terminated for labor violations named in the report. Apple also noted it “found no cases of underage labor at any of our final assembly suppliers.”

The 2013 report was a wider-ranging audit of its supply chain than Apple has done before. Apple says there were 393 audits (72 percent more than 2011) performed in 14 countries, covering 1.5 million workers.

The full report is available here. (PDF)

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