“A new report from a Chinese workers-rights group alleges labor abuses at a major Apple Inc. contractor the company has been using more as it shifts some work from longtime supplier Foxconn,” Paul Mozur, Chao Deng, and Eva Dou report for The Wall Street Journal.
“The report, set to be released on Monday by New York-based nonprofit China Labor Watch, alleges safety and environmental violations; the withholding of worker pay or the identification cards they need to work elsewhere; and poor living conditions at China-based factories owned by Taiwan’s Pegatron Corp and two subsidiaries,” Mozur, Deng, and Dou report. “Such breaches would violate both Chinese law and Apple’s supplier policy, and would show the extent of the challenge for Apple to uphold the relatively high labor standards it has set in a Chinese electronics-supply chain where breaches in labor law are common.”
Mozur, Deng, and Dou report, “Pegatron Chief Executive Jason Cheng said, ‘We will investigate [the allegations] fully and take immediate actions to correct any violations to Chinese labor laws and our own code of conduct.’ Pegatron previously has managed to avoid major scrutiny of its factory conditions due to its smaller scale, but the company is growing quickly. Analysts estimate its factory in the Pudong district across the river from downtown Shanghai produces one-third of the world’s iPhones and iPads. Amid a surge in orders, Pegatron expanded its workforce from 50,000 in March to about 70,000 now.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Note: Apple Inc. has released response. Here it is, verbatim:
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 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.
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.
MacDailyNews Take: Like herding cats.
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