According to the president of the Fair Labor Association, working conditions at the Foxconn plant that manufactures Apple's iPads and iPhones are far better in comparison to those of other facilities in China, reports Reuters. His comments come just a couple days after the announcement on Monday that Apple would be working with the FLA to conduct "special" inspections of some of the plants that manufacture Apple's products.
To prepare for the special inspections, President of the FLA Auret van Heerden has spent the past several days visiting Foxconn plants. After his initial visits to Foxconn, van Heerden said that "physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm" and that "the facilities are first-class."
"I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory," van Heerden said. "So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps."
However, his comments are not an official conclusion on the overall working conditions at Foxconn and other companies. Investigators with the FLA will also visit the facilities of Quanta Computer Inc, Pegatron Corp, Wintek Corp and other Apple suppliers.
In an apparent move to preempt naysayers, van Heerden was dismissive of the idea that the FLA would go easy on Apple's suppliers. He said to Reuters, "Apple didn't need to join the FLA. The FLA system is very tough. It involves unannounced visits, complete access, public reporting. If Apple wanted to take the easy way out there were a whole host of options available to them. The fact that they joined the FLA shows they were really serious about raising their game."
Apple was the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association when it joined last month.