Local labor rights advocates in Taiwan have lashed out at the recent Apple factory inspections, branding them “paint jobs”. FLA officials began a special voluntary audit at the start of the week, and the initial reports that came back were pretty good. Officials claimed conditions were much better than those in the sweatshops of garment manufacturers, and that actually the problems could stem from the monotonous nature of the work carried out by employees, rather than bad conditions.
First to speak out against the inspections was Yang You-ren, a professor of sociology at Tunghai University in Taiwan.
“The results of the report will be debatable, as the FLA is known for its lenient code of conduct regarding labor rights”
He claimed that the FLA is funded by many large corporations like Apple, and so their findings and any action taken tends to lean in favor of businesses.
“What they’re doing is trying to pretend that everything is going well… The association is a shield of multi-national companies”
Naturally, as a Taiwanese resident, You-ren might have a vested interest in protecting the rights of his fellow countrymen. However, criticism has also stemmed from other parts of the world. Jeff Ballinger, director of U.S labor rights group Press for Change has labelled the FLA as “fig leaf”. That report, from the New York Times also mentioned the fact that the FLA was formed in 1999 by universities, nonprofit groups and companies like Nike and Liz Claiborne. The report suggested that the FLA had made very little progress in improving working conditions.
Back in Taiwan, more criticism came from Youngie Wuo, a researcher for Taiwan International Workers Association, who reiterated the point that the FLA is not effective when it comes to labor issues.
“It is nothing but a public relations strategy”
He went on to note how companies would rave about how they valued their workers after a favourable report was released, it’s important to mention here that Apple has done its raving before the report, most notably in the Tim Cook e-mail a couple of weeks ago.
Where do you stand on all this? Has Apple managed to sweep all its problems under that carpet? Or have we been to harsh? Let me know in the comments below, or head over to my Twitter where you can leave a question, opinion or feedback @TiP_Stephen
Via: Focus Taiwan