Business

Apple under fire again for supplier worker abuses from China Labor Watch

Above: Apple CEO Tim Cook visiting a Foxconn supplier plant

Image Credit: Apple
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China Labor Watch, a New York-based watchdog group, has made new allegations against Apple supplier Pegatron, including that it employs underage workers, gives employees excessive hours, and maintains poor working and living conditions.

CLW’s full report says Taiwan-based Pegatron is engaged in 86 labor rights violations, with 36 of them being legal violations and 50 of them ethical violations. The organization says the violations are in violation of “international and Chinese laws and standards” as well as violating Apple’s own social responsibility guidelines.

“Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories,” CLW executive director Li Qiang said in a statement. “Apple has not lived up to its own standards. This will lead to Apple’s suppliers abusing labor in order to strengthen their position for receiving orders. In this way, Apple is worsening conditions for workers, not improving them.”

Apple has responded to supplier abuse allegations in the past, and it responded quickly to today’s report. In a lengthy statement to the Wall Street Journal, Apple said that it will investigate these new claims against Pegatron. Apple writes:

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 timecards 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.

Pegatron has attracted less scrutiny than Foxconn to date, but this new report will likely give it a spotlight.


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