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Apple supplier audit begins with Foxconn plant [China]

Apple has reacted to growing criticism over alleged abuses of workers at its suppliers by asking an independent group, the Fair Labor Association (FLA), to conduct audits of its "final assembly" suppliers...The first inspections began on Monday morning...The FLA will speak to thousands of staff about working and living conditions, payments, health and safety and the management style..."We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," said Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, in a statement. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."...Foxconn [part of Hon Hai], which makes equipment for a large number of...companies, including Apple, Amazon, Acer, Asus, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Netgear, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, has generated huge amounts of attention following claims of poor working conditions...Last week Apple faced twin petitions signed online by more than 250,000 people seeking assurances that the company would use "ethical, fair and safe" suppliers for the production of its computers, phones and tablets.