Problems persist in Apple supply chain
Re-investigation of factory shows poor working conditions
Apple is continuing to let down workers in its supply chain according to a new report released this week.
An investigation by China Labour Watch reveals that despite promises to address issues at the Shanghai-based Pegatron Technology factory, conditions for workers there remain poor.
The report “Something’s Not Right Here” calls on Apple CEO Tim Cook to acknowledge the problems and work harder to put them right.
It outlines how workers at Pegatron, which produces Apple’s iconic iPhone:
- often work 12-hour shifts;
- often work six days a week;
- are forced to do overtime work and unpaid labour;
- have short breaks for meals;
- face hiring fees and unreasonable fines, and
- receive inadequate training in safety and accident prevention measures.
Researchers say this is all covered up by Pegatron management through fraudulent documentation. They add that "Pegatron also contravenes Chinese law in its excessive use of precarious temp labor and its refusal to pay legally mandated benefits to its workers."
The lack of any labour union exacerbates these problems, according to the report.
CLW say that this "grim reality" stands in contrast to Apple’s ethical commitments (the company receives an Ethical Consumer middle rating for its supply chain management rather than a worst ranking).
CLW compared findings from its new investigation with those of a 2013 investigation of Pegatron. Among 21 categories of legal and ethical violations that were identified they found that eleven went unchanged, five problems deteriorated further, and four showed partial but incomplete improvement.
One category of violation, hiring discrimination, appeared to have improved. But this may have been influenced by the fact that CLW’s investigator was hired directly by the company rather than as a temp worker, where more discriminatory hiring practices are common.
This week also saw the release of a report which criticised Apple for the way it manages its huge monetary resources. Campaigners say the company is failing to pay a fair amount of tax or pay living wages.
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