In an update posted on its supplier responsibility webpage, Apple notes that it is now tracking working hours of over a million workers involved in its supply chain, up from last month’s figure of 900,000 and January’s figure of 500,000.
In November, 88% of the million workers worked less than Apple’s maximum 60-hour work week limit. The rate isn’t an exact hundred since Apple allows employees to volunteer to work overtime during particularly high demand periods to earn extra income. The highest supplier work compliance rate Apple saw was 97%, during August, just a month before the iPhone 5 launched.
Since September, though, Apple has struggled on many fronts to meet the demand for many of its iOS and Mac products, including the iPad mini and the iPhone 5. This explains the relatively sharp drop in compliance rates from August to September.
Apple has been the subject of a lot of criticism for employing workers in inhospitable conditions and making them work extra hours. By investigating deep into the supply chain, partnering with the Fair Labor Association, regularly pushing out information about Asian suppliers, and announcing plans of bringing back manufacturing to the US, Apple hopes to put all this criticism behind and set an example for all the other tech companies out there.
Most recently, a group of undercover French journalists found that living conditions in Foxconn still remain bad, despite Apple’s assurances that conditions have, and will continue to, improve.