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Apple Foxconn factory 'begins to improve working conditions'

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Conditions at the Foxconn factory in China, which manufactures products for Apple and other Western technology firms, are reportedly beginning to improve.

The company, the largest private employer in the country, has pledged to increase wages and reduce working hours, the New York Times reports.

iPad 2
A customer tests the new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong

© PA Images / Kin Cheung/AP















"The days of easy globalization are done. We know that we have to get into the muck now," an unnamed Apple executive told the newspaper.

Director of corporate social responsibility at Intel Gary Niekerk added: "This is on the front burner for everyone now.

"[No-one] wants to end up in a factory that treats people badly, that ends up on the front page."


Other reforms at the factory reportedly include the introduction of more supportive chairs and cushioned seats for some workers, automatic switch-off on mechanisms on some machines, and protective foam on low-hanging internal stairwell ceilings.

An official Apple statement read: "No-one in our industry is doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people as we do.

"Through years of hard work and steadfast commitment, we have set workplace, dormitory and safety standards, sought help from the world's leading experts, and established groundbreaking educational programmes for workers."

A customer holds two new iPhone 5's outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden

© PA Images / Lewis Whyld/PA Wire



It continued: "We have been upfront about the challenges we face and are attacking issues aggressively.

"We believe deeply in transparency and have demonstrated this through reporting our shortcomings and exposing violations."

In October, Foxconn admitted breaching child labour laws when it emerged that children as young as 14 were working as interns at its Tantai facility in Shandong province.

A month earlier, production was halted at one of the firm's plants in northern China after a fight involving 2,000 workers broke out.

Apple was hit by a critical report from the US Fair Labour Association in March, though the non-profit body also secured commitments for future improvements.

Apple's chief executive Tom Cook visited a new iPhone production plant run by Foxconn later that month.

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