Foxconn and Apple Inc. have finally begun to implement measures that are improving work and safety conditions at the various manufacturing plants where iPads and iPhones are being manufactured.
The Fair Labor Association announced on Tuesday that the companies are working to cut down worker hours by one-third in order to comply with local labor laws by 2013.
Apple, after suffering through various violations at the Foxconn plants, agreed earlier this year to drastically reduce overtime, improve overall safety conditions, and hire new workers. The company, which also houses many of its employees inside dormitories, promised to upgrade those facilities to create better working conditions for employees.
The FLA now claims that Apple and Foxconn have begun to implement agreed-upon changes with Apple holding Foxconn accountable for its actions for the first time since the two sides partnered.
Demands to better conditions at Foxconn came about after employees began to commits suicide at an alarm rate starting in 2010. Conditions became so bad that several Foxconn locations installed nets at the base of their building to stop employees from leaping to their death atop manufacturing buildings.
The move to improve working conditions comes just one day after Apple was valued at $623 billion, making Apple the highest valued company of all time.
While international protests have continued to mount, some employees at Foxconn are actually upset by the loss of overtime pay which will result, a fact that has led to a delicate balancing act on behalf of Apple and Foxconn. In China, a shortage of available labor will likely mean better pay at less hours as Foxconn attempts to retain its workers while still turning a profit.
Foxconn is also offering up employee moral boosting programs such as a stipend offered to employees for food and housing should they choose to live off-campus.