Apple has commissioned an independent audit of the working conditions at the Foxconn factories that make its iPhone and iPad devices in China.
The firm said that the audits would be undertaken by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in factories in both Shenzhen and Chengdu, in response to repeated criticisms of the treatment of workers at the plants.
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said the audits had already begun and would ensure all workers involved in the productions of its products were treated fairly.
"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," he said.
"The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."
Apple said the FLA's audit will involve interviews with thousands of employees on issues relating to working and living conditions, health and safety, pay and upper management's treatment of workers.
As part of the audit Apple has also officially joined the FLA, a move that was welcomed by its president Auret van Heerden.
"We found that Apple takes supplier responsibility seriously and we look forward to their participation in the FLA. We hope its participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry." he said
The announcement comes on the same day that Apple's share price passed $500 for the first time and after it posted its largest quarterly revenues to date in January.
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