“Apple takes working conditions very seriously.” Apple CEO Tim Cook wasted no time addressing the issue on everyone’s mind as he took the stage for his keynote presentation at Tuesday’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. “We take the conditions of workers very seriously. I worked in factories; I worked at a paper mill. We understand working conditions at a very granular level.”
Cook continued, “I realize that the supply chain is very complex, and the issues surrounding it are very complex. But we believe that every worker has the right to a safe working environment where workers can earn a fair wage.” And then, he said it: “Apple suppliers must live up to this in order to do business with Apple.”
The Apple CEO also used his keynote to highlight the primary component of this new era for the company—education saying, “We provide free classes at many locations in our supply chain, and partner with colleges to provide courses. More than 60,000 employees have attended these classes. It would be a campus population larger than Arizona State, which is the largest state campus in the United States.”
“We think that the use of underage labor is abhorrent. Our top priority is to eliminate it entirely,” Cook said. “If we find a supplier that intentionally supplies underage labor, it’s a firing offense.” Cook also cited the growth of the Mac revenue from $1.2B in sales in China and other emerging markets pre-iPhone launch to $13B last year.
When speaking about cheaper tablets, Cook said that if you take a crappy tablet home, you’ll find that the “joy is gone” soon after getting it home. “The joy is gone every day that they use it until they aren’t using it anymore,” said Cook. “You don’t keep remembering “I got a good deal!” because you hate it! “As long as people invent their own stuff, I welcome the competition,” Cook said.
Cook also urges that when it comes to worker safety and supplier responsibility – Apple is always expected to lead – the company from now on will publish monthly updates on worker hours, overtime and working conditions to its website – Cook words really said a lot and even enough for a lot of people to stop saying anything wrong against the Apple.