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Lingering issues found at Foxconn's iPhone factory

A new investigative report that went inside one of Foxconn's busiest factories claims there are still major issues with working conditions.

Construction near Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou, China.
Construction near Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou, China, earlier this year. Jay Greene/CNET

Despite recent efforts to improve working conditions at Foxconn's factories, a new investigative report claims that there are still numerous issues.

The findings come in a report by French TV program Envoyé Spécial, which yesterday aired hidden-camera footage it captured at Foxconn's facility in Zhengzhou, China, which manufactures Apple's iPhone. It's also the same factory where a worker strike occurred two months ago.

Among the issues found by the group, as relayed by Engadget, were workers living in buildings that were in the process of being built, meaning those living there were without electricity or water. The reporters also met employees who claimed they were required to continue working there at the risk of losing their educational credentials.

Foxconn said it was working hard to provide a "safe and satisfactory working environment" for it's employees but noted there was still work to be done.

"Foxconn is not perfect, but we are making progress everyday and we continue to lead our industry in meeting the needs of the new generation of workers in China. That progress is reflected in our success in recruiting and retaining workers and in the reports of the many members of the international media who have visited our operations and who have freely and independently spoken with employees."

An Apple spokeswoman reiterated a statement the company made earlier this year:

Apple is committed to the highest standards of social responsibility across our worldwide supply chain. We insist that all of our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever our products are made.

Both Apple and Foxconn were put under intense scrutiny following investigative reports by The New York Times earlier this year. Those reports highlighted poor labor and safety issues in Apple's supplier facilities, as well as business practices that prohibited those manufacturers from making improvements. In its own annual supplier responsibility report, Apple said it found issues with working hours and compliance with environmental standards.

Since then, the Fair Labor Association -- which Apple became a member of in January -- published a report on Foxconn that found violations in wages and overtime, conditions that the Chinese manufacturing giant pledged to remedy with a deadline that goes into July of next year. In a follow-up, the group said Foxconn was actually ahead of schedule. Additionally, Apple CEO Tim Cook traveled to China, and visited the factories in person.

The report from Envoyé Spécial is the latest to claim that major issues persist. A report published in September by the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior claimed that workers at Foxconn's Zhengzhou facility were still being forced to work overtime and experiencing numerous working violations. Foxconn said the report was not representative of the factory, which employed 192,000 workers at the time.

Here's the entire segment, split up into three parts, and in French:

Updated at 2:30 p.m. PT with comment from Apple and additional background. Updated 12/16 at 7:45 p.m PT with Foxconn comment.