In a double punch of the day, Apple received a list of labor violations from the China Watch Labor group. The tech giant has failed to hold their suppliers accountable as Pegatron, a supplier of Apple products was slapped with excessive labor violations. The China Labor Watch also referred to a “plastic” iPhone, more notably named the iPhone 5C.
The China Watch Labor group accuses Pegatron of forcing employees to work excessive “overtime hours to turn out a scaled-back, less expensive version of the iPhone,” the labor group’s report states. “Six days a week, the workers making these phones have to work almost 11-hour shifts, 20 minutes of which is unpaid, and the remainder of which is paid at a rate of $1.50 an hour ($268 per month) before overtime.”
In addition, to the labor complaint – it seems Apple had no oversight or failed to acknowledge the on-goings with their supplier Pegatron. All, reportedly in a rush to release the next iPhone device. The report stated employees were forced to live in close, cramped quarters and immediately return to work after a quick rest. Breaks were at times completely bypassed. The investigator of the labor group states supervisors would scream at the employees to complete the work and drive out faster phone production.
This calls into mind, the ‘American greed’ as labeled by other countries. In a country of consumption rather than creation, the demand for the newest and fastest phones are driving companies to overwork their workers. This isn’t a first complaint or strike against Apple and their suppliers. Labor reports have shown that Apple suppliers have struggled not to violate labor laws. Reports surfaced that these type of severe labor violations are commonplace among Apple suppliers.
The suppliers, since 2007 have been hit with violations that consist of:
- Forcing many workers to exceed a 60 hour work week
- Over 100 facilities failed to pay their workers proper overtime as legislated
- Several facilities were accused of abusive child labor
- Dozens of facilities were not providing proper benefits for physical examinations which is required by law
- Several facilities have denied or block releasing pertinent information to Apple- yet the supplier faced no consequences
Apple has over 150 suppliers with big names such as Sony, Intel and Pegatron. In 2010, China based Foxconn stunned the world when 14 out of 18 employees committed suicide. The remaining four were hurt but survived. The company was at the time one of Apple’s biggest suppliers. During that time, Foxconn was churning out high numbers of iPads and iPhones, not including devices for other companies like HP, Nintendo, Nokia and Sony.
Today, the China Labor Watch, a New York based advocacy group released a report of the “deplorable” conditions workers are forced in. The group sent undercover agents to two factories in Shanghai and another investigator to one in Suzhou. While reports released the affordable plastic iPhone 5C, this writer found it necessary to bypass any requests for specs in this specific article due to the disturbing release of the labor report. The full report from the China Labor Watch group is provided at the bottom of the article.
Apple released a statement today upon release of the report, citing multiple violations against one its largest suppliers, Pegatron:
Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain. We lead the industry with far-reaching and specialized audits, the most transparent reporting and educational programs that enrich the lives of workers who make our products. Apple is the first and only technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, and we are dedicated to protecting every worker in our supply chain.
As a part of our extensive Supplier Responsibility program, Apple has conducted 15 comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007, covering more than 130,000 workers making Apple products including annual audits of Pegatron’s final assembly locations and surprise audits at both RiTeng and AVY within the past 18 months.
Additionally, we have closely tracked working hours at all of these facilities. Our most recent survey in June found that Pegatron employees making Apple products worked 46 hours per week on average. Excessive overtime is not in anyone’s best interest, and we work closely with our suppliers to prevent it. Apple surveys working hours for more than 1 million employees across our supply chain each month and we report the findings on our website.
We have been in close contact with China Labor Watch for several months, investigating issues they’ve raised and sharing our findings. When they first told us that workers’ ID cards were being withheld, an auditor from our Supplier Responsibility program was on-site the next day to investigate. We confirmed that labor brokers for Pegatron were holding a small number of IDs as they helped set up bank accounts for those employees. We demanded Pegatron put a stop to this practice and a new system was in place within a week.
Their latest report contains claims that are new to us and we will investigate them immediately. Our audit teams will return to Pegatron, RiTeng and AVY for special inspections this week. If our audits find that workers have been underpaid or denied compensation for any time they’ve worked, we will require that Pegatron reimburse them in full.
Our audits involve a thorough review of time cards and other documents to guard against falsification. We will investigate these new claims thoroughly, ensure that corrective actions are taken where needed and report any violations of our code of conduct. We will not tolerate deviations from our code.
Apple believes in transparency and accountability, both for our suppliers and ourselves. We realize being a leader in workers rights and being transparent with our findings opens us to criticism, but we believe strongly that we can make a big difference in the lives of millions of people by doing so and this provides us the courage and resilience to continue the journey. We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to uncover problems and improve conditions for workers. By vigorously enforcing our supplier code of conduct, we ensure that our suppliers follow the same principles and values we hold true.
For the full report from the China Labor Watch click here: CLW Report On Apple Supplier Pegatron