Taiwanese unions protest Apple in campaign accusing supplier Wintek of ‘exploiting workers’

“Labor rights groups are stepping up their campaign against a Taiwanese supplier for Apple Computer,” Jonathan Adams reports for GlobalPost.

“They have accused the company, flat-panel maker Wintek, of exploiting workers at its factories in Taiwan and its subsidiary’s factory in China,” Adams reports.

“The groups organized a protest outside Apple’s Taipei office on Thursday morning, targeting the U.S. computer giant for the first time,” Adams reports.

“They say Wintek has not fully addressed their demands after months of negotiations, so they’re taking their campaign to one of its high-profile customers,” Adams reports. “‘We want to go through Apple to put pressure on Wintek,’ said Chu Wei-li, 30, secretary-general of the Taipei-based National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, a key organizer of the protest.”

“Wintek denies any wrongdoing. In an e-mail, spokesperson Susie Lee said Wintek posted record net losses in 2008 due to the global downturn, and was forced to institute ‘cost-saving measures,'” Adams reports. “It says it gave laid-off workers compensation packages, and that all of its policies are in line with local laws and regulations, as well as its supplier ‘code of conduct’ agreements.”

“Apple’s Asia spokesperson Jill Tan said in an e-mail, ‘Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are [made],’ and pointed me to the firm’s corporate responsibility information,” Adams reports. “Apple conducts regular audits of suppliers to make sure they comply with Apple’s code of conduct, Tan said, and ‘we require corrective actions when we find violations.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of the story’s validity (we need to know more from more sources first), Apple should make sure that the people who are assembling Apple products in Taiwan and all other countries are treated better than the accepted base standards. It’s good business, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s what we expect of Apple.

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