London: Tech giant Apple has sacked one of its China-based suppliers after discovering it employed dozens of child workers.
The firm stepped up audits of working conditions at major suppliers last year, discovering multiple cases of underage workers, discrimination and wage problems.
According to the Telegraph, in one case, Apple said it terminated its relationship with a component maker Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics after discovering 74 cases of underage workers.
The firm also discovered an employment agency that was forging documents to allow children to illegally work at the supplier.
Apple relies heavily on Asian-based partners like Taiwan''s Foxconn Technology Group to assemble the vast majority of its iPhones and iPads.
The iPhone maker said on Thursday it had conducted 393 audits in 2012, up 72 percent from 2011, reviewing sites where more than 1.5 million workers make its gadgets.
According to the paper, the programme of inspections has been stepped up following accusations of Apple building its profits on the backs of poorly treated and severely underpaid workers in China.
That criticism came to the fore around 2010, after reports of suicides at Foxconn drew attention to the long hours that migrant labourers frequently endure, often for a pittance in wages and in severely cramped living conditions, the report added.