If there's one thing Apple doesn't do with great frequency, it's issue press releases.

When Apple speaks in an official capacity, it usually means there's a good reason for the communication. And today's press release is clearly intended to convey how seriously the company takes allegations of worker abuses among its manufacturing partners.

On Monday, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request.

Just last month, Apple became the first global tech company to join the organization.

Those who will conduct the on-site inspections are described as "a team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden." The group actually began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen - a.k.a. Foxconn City.

“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “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.”

As MMi has reported on a consistent basis in recent weeks, Apple continues to be pelted by human rights advocates who believe the company should do more to crack down on the horrendous conditions some say are rampant inside the Asian-based facilities used to produce Apple products.

Source: Apple