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Apple bans ‘bonded labour’ practice from its factories

'Bonded labour', a practice in which new factory workers have to pay a fee before starting to work, has been banned by Apple.

The company says any such fee must be paid by the supplier, and not the worker.

Apple has been under some pressure in recent times when reports emerged of inhumane condition in some of its factories in China.

In 2010, 14 workers killed themselves at the factory run by Apple’s biggest supplier, Foxconn.

The company issued a Progress report for 2015 (opens in new tab), where it said it notified its suppliers in October about the ‘bonded labour’ practice being outlawed at the start of 2015.

"That fee needs to be paid by the supplier, and Apple ultimately bears that fee when we pay the supplier, and we're OK doing that," said Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice-president of operations.

The infamous practice requires new factory recruits to pay a fee, sometimes worth more than a monthly’s salary before going to work, meaning some workers start their jobs already in debt.

Apple said it was offended by the allegations of giving workers poor conditions, and said it had tracked more than 1.1 million workers on average per week in 2014.

The results have shown that suppliers achieved 92 per cent compliance with its 60-hour maximum working week.

"We consistently report suppliers' violations of our standards," Mr Williams wrote in Apple's report. "People sometimes point to the discovery of problems as evidence that our process isn't working. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.