Apple supplier in China accused of 86 labour rights violations

A New York-based rights group has reported three factories making Apple products in Shanghai and Suzhou enforce unpaid overtime and employ minors among other violations of Chinese regulations (release).

China Labor Watch says Pegatron, which assembles iPads and iPhones at factories in China, were found to be “violating a great number of international and Chinese laws and standards as well as the standards of Apple's own social responsibility code of conduct”.

CLW’s investigations revealed at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations. The violations fall into 15 categories: dispatch labor abuse, hiring discrimination, women’s rights violations, underage labor, contract violations, insufficient worker training, excessive working hours, insufficient wages, poor working conditions, poor living conditions, difficulty in taking leave, labor health and safety concerns, ineffective grievance channels, abuse by management, and environmental pollution.

Apple continues to source from Pegatron factories despite serious labor rights violations. That Apple has made promises on the conduct of its suppliers means that Apple is complicit in the persistence of violations at these factories.

Apple has said it has been in contact with China Labor Watch for a number of months, but that the latest claims have not been raised before. In a statement, it said:

Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain….

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….