An investigation into working conditions at the Chinese factories that make Apple’s iPhones and iPads has been criticized as a “PR stunt” by campaigners. An audit carried out by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) in response to a public outcry over workplace abuses found “serious and pressing” breaches of Chinese labour laws.
Apple threw its weight behind the report and Foxconn, its main supplier, has agreed to improve working hours, pay, union representation and health-and-safety conditions for its 1.2 million workers, but China Labour Watch said Apple “is merely passing on its responsibility” by hiring the FLA to conduct the investigation, and that the report “does not address the workers’ primary concerns”.
Li Qiang, director of China Labour Watch asked, “If Apple doesn’t have the means to help its Chinese workers, who does?”.
This is an interesting case to watch as it could easily spiral out of control. This is a PR crisis for Apple.
According to the 5 tips for dealing with a crisis – Assess, Admit, Address, Atone and Adapt, Apple have acknowledged the issue, admitted fault and publicly backed the report condemning the factory. Apple have also sent their CEO Tim Cook to visit the factory in question.
The technology giant have also pledged to send independent inspectors from the Fair Labor Association to audit the facilities.
In short, Apple are managing this crisis quite well as it is still quite contained and in their control. However, if Apple are simply paying lip service, they would want to be careful as the backlash for the brand will be severe in China, one of their biggest markets.
Love Niamh x