Tim Cook at Foxconn

Activists have long targeted Apple and accused it of allowing poor working conditions in its Chinese factories, and a new report suggests the environment isn't improving very quickly. Here's a bit of a back story:

In February, the Fair Labor Association said that it would inspect Apple's factories and, in March, revealed that there were health and safety violations and that employees were working "excessive overtime." This was a problem, however, as many employees expressed a willingness to work the extended hours for the extra money. Tim Cook even paid a rare visit at the end of March and Apple said earlier this month that it will share the costs required to improve working conditions in its factories.

The most recent report was released by Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) found that Foxconn factories were still treating employees inhumanely, were forcing them to meet production targets that are too high and that there are signs of salary cuts, Reuters explained. "The frontline management continue to impose humiliating disciplinary measures on its workers," SACOM said. "The findings… demonstrate that Apple and Foxconn have not turned over a new leaf." Another watchdog said Apple says it's improving conditions in an effort to gain good PR.

"At the moment they're just tinkering around the edges and doing PR stunts, I don't think there's a short term fix to the situation at Foxconn," China Labour Bulletin member Geoffrey Crothall told Reuters. "It's too big. It's too complicated." Employees said they are still being pushed very hard to produce products. Foxconn replied to a request from Reuters for comment. "The welfare of our employees is without a doubt our top priority and we are working hard to give our more than one million employees in China a safe and positive working environment," the company said in its statement.

[via Reuters]