BBC News claims Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

“Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation,” Richard Bilton reports for BBC News.

MacDailyNews Take: At companies not named Apple Inc.

Bilton reports, “Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken.”

MacDailyNews Take: By companies not named Apple Inc.

“It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories,” Bilton reports. “Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions.”

“Apple declined to be interviewed for the programme, but said in a statement: ‘We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions. We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done,'” Bilton reports. “It said it monitored the working hours of more than a million workers and that staff at Pegatron were averaging 55 hours a week.”

“Pegatron said it was carefully investigating Panorama’s claims and would take all necessary action if any deficiencies were found at their facilities,” Bilton reports. “Worker safety and well-being are our top priorities. We set very high standards, conduct rigorous training for managers and workers, and have external auditors regularly visiting our facilities to find areas for improvement,, a statement said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These reports all carry the stench of hit-pieces since they go to ludicrous lengths to impugn Apple for the actions of others. Apple has done and continues to do more for Chinese workers than any company on earth. Blaming Apple for poor work conditions at Chinese companies is like blaming Bono for the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Apple Inc.’s Supplier Responsibility website:
www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/

Related articles:
Apple bans use of 2 hazardous chemicals in iPhone assembly – August 13, 2014
Samsung: Sorry about that cancer – May 14, 2014
Greenpeace praises Apple for reducing use of conflict minerals – February 13, 2014
Apple confirms suppliers use conflict-free minerals – February 13, 2014
Fair Labor Association sees progress at major Apple supplier Foxconn – December 12, 2013

50 Comments

  1. How about gross negligence and editorial incompetence of the BBC?

    Substitute Google in there for a change. Christ THE LORD ALMIGHTY!

    BBC News claims Google ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

    BBC News claims Samsung ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

    BBC News claims DELL ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

    un fkn’ REAL!

    1. Apple is the biggest company in the world. Apple makes fantastic products. You can expect Apple to get more scrutiny just because of those two factors. It’s not fair, but I’m still looking for the rule book that says Life if Fair.

      I believe Apple takes working conditions of their suppliers more seriously than any other company, as well. And they manage these hit pieces with dignity. They don’t resort to name calling. They are a class act.

      1. Its not a matter of being fair its a matter of being UNBIASED. To concentrate on one company because its the biggest in the World rather than on policy, record and above all actual behaviour in practice in such matters is about prejudice NOT an attempt to change the behaviour they are so critical of. Its not rocket science to believe that if Evil Corp factories or Microsoft for that matter is abusing workers but are ignored while reporting similar breaches of work practices at Apple nominated factories on an ongoing basis lacks credibility and balance let alone a sense of morality that puts the news organisation(s) whole objectivity in doubt. The BBC in particular does not need the big headline as a non advertising based organisation so doesn’t even have that excuse.

        On a wider point sadly the BBC has been a Microsoft lackey for some years coincidentally since they agreed strong technical links and employed a Microsoft executive (now sacked) to lead their technical push and this brown nosing behaviour was soundly criticised by the BBC Trust itself a few years back. Yet there seems little evidence that their bias has changed with massive coverage of positive items about MS and strangely ignoring many rather less pleasent items that are reported elsewhere. The BBC is still renowned for its objectivity sadly, especially in tech this is increasingly undeserved.

  2. Old news. Show me a technology company that has done more to improve conditions at Chinese companies. These aren’t Apple’s manufacturing plants. They are hired contract manufacturers who are responsible for the running of their business. Seems to me that Apple has gone above and beyond the normal corporation to see that people building its products are well treated. Come on, BBC. There **is** a limit.

  3. Just watched this unbelievably biased report on my TV in UK. I’m so angry that the BBC which is a highly respected worldwide broadcaster can not mention any other technology company in their hour of drivel. The funniest part was watching the reporter file his report on a MacBook Pro!!

    1. “…the BBC which is highly respected worldwide…” Stop right there woodpecker because you just created a straw-man for the rest of your argument, thereby undermining your conclusion, which may still be correct. From what I’ve observed, the beeb is widely perceived as carrying tremendous bias in its reporting in science, technology and politics and, has been for years.

      1. The BBC is arguably less biased than many other media organizations, especially those who use customer bias targeting as their business model. I suspect that you are using the term ‘bias’ to describe differences from your personal opinions on science, politics, etc.

        In my experience, most matters of science that have been subjected to lengthy peer review and investigation and are supported by the majority of respected scientists and technical organizations should be respected. Occasionally, a position that is widely accepted by the science community is found to be in error. But I would certainly trust a properly vetted scientific position over the ‘gut checks’ and ‘feelings’ routinely offered up by so-called news organizations.

          1. Fox News got the Benghazi scandal right when the White House was going around lying about it and every other news organization was parroting the Democrat talking points.
            But you wouldn’t know that because you are a low information voter (assuming you vote).

            1. The Republican House investigated Benghazi and determined there was no wrongdoing and what the Secretary of State Clinton testified to was correct.

              Faux Newz hyped a non story based upon false notions, innuendo and outright lies for political gain and profit. That would be their normal mode- be afraid- we will tell you who to blame. Classic yellow journalism from Rupert Murdoch.

  4. One more in a string of ludicrous anti Apple hit pieces by the Beeb. The tech dept of the BBC has always been the last refuge of some sad throwbacks who never forgave Apple for prevailing over Microsoft, and who then transferred their allegiance to Android/Google. Do none of the higher-ups at the BBC realise what a laughing stock pieces like this make them? Or has Mike Daisey got a new job?

        1. Thanks emmayche. I know Christmas can be a difficult time for grammar fascists so I want you to know I appreciate your efforts. Try to keep a sense of perspective if you can – we’re discussing the dereliction of duty of a public service broadcaster and serial child abuse. Good grammar doesn’t compensate for that. Keep up the good work though – they say keeping busy is half the battle 😉.

  5. Ultimately the responsibility of the safety of workers lies with the government’s legislation, work health and safety etc, so if it’s legal fine, if not then the government needs to go after Pegatron.

    I know Apple and Pegatron will be looking into this, I hope the Chinese and Indonesian governments do as well, but the bottom line is that it’s their decision.

    Just as it is the BBC to go after Apple, it’s about getting hits for them it seems. Too bad they used to be top notch. I guess that’s what happens when you ally yourself with losers.

    1. Way to pass the buck! Legality and ethics don’t always align. Ethics requires you do the right thing even when no one is looking. An unethical organization is one that scours the world for the cheapest labor — the labor that, rather than being respected, is treated little better than slaves. All western corporations need to be better than this — after all, you and I would not send our children to work in those sweatshops, working demeaning 16 hour/day jobs with no growth potential.

      I didn’t watch the BBC coverage, but I think Apple can afford to be better than the rest. Currently, it really isn’t, since all Apple does is contract the same builders that all the other major electronics brands use. That’s a shame, because Apple seemed to be one of the companies that cared more about people than about profit.

      Following the money trail, in the end, Apple is the employer, setting the work rules and paying everyone below it. Sure, we all know that Apple could do the bare legal minimums in whatever nasty country has no laws, but I and millions of other customers and investors boycott those hideous companies. Any company, any employer, has the moral obligation to ensure that the employees in its supply chain are not being abused, work in safe conditions, no child labor, no toxic materials, etc. The fact that the corrupt Chinese government doesn’t care about its own people is irrelevant. Bad morality on the part of one group does no remove the obligation of a moral person/organization to do the right thing. What, is Apple short of cash or something?

      Accuse BBC of bias all you want, there is no doubt that worker treatment is far below the conditions that the average western worker would find acceptable. Why do we pretend this doesn’t matter?

      1. Ethically we probably shouldn’t produce in China at all and yes as we do, we should put whatever pressure we can on improving working conditions there, but also one has to not patronise China is ultimately responsible for the conditions in its own country and as much as we may dislike the reality Chinese growth has improved the general conditions of its working population which is why they flock to work in these factories.

        Its a tough call, reminiscent of our own industrialisation but our influence has serious and increasing limits in China and any news organisation can easily find news stories about breaches and far worse if it cares to look. All we can ask is that these news organisations show the sort of integrity that we so criticise others for not exercising.

        Worse still the fact is the BBC, as endless others do not want to upset the Chinese for obvious reasons so criticise others in its place. if you are already avoiding true morality and exercising bias in this regard then at least try to show a higher standard when you report on the western companies involved.

        Consistency is all we ask and at the moment the only consistent aspect is to target Apple as the BBC seems to have a list of those it doesn’t want to upset with Microsoft at the top of the list. Its all part of the general ‘corporate’ hatred by many towards Apple that I find strangely hypocritical.

        1. I totally agree. I may not like the fact that Apple is one (not the only one) being singled out to make the point, but child slavery and unethical working conditions remain a huge problem, and we ALL are obligated to do what we can. No organization is in a better position to make meaningful changes, because no company is profiting more from the status-quo Chinese labor practices.

          Rather than bitching about the quality of BBC’s reporting, i would be proud of Apple to stand up and be a greater champion for reform.

          Sadly, instead of assisting people who work in dehumanizing conditions in China, Cook’s cause is to make sure that people who like sodomy have the legal right to talk openly about it in public and, if they choose, to stamp an archaic “marriage” label on their civil union. As an investor and user, I would strongly prefer that Apple continue to improve labor practices in its supply chain rather than blow company money on advocating lifestyle choices.

  6. Isn’t it China’s responsibility to protect Chinese workers? Many Toyotas are made here in the US and the US is responsible for the worker’s welfare and doesn’t require constant monitoring by Toyota.

    Why the double standard unless China can’t be trusted to be concerned about its citizens welfare?

  7. Yes, Apple is failing to protect Chinese factory workers while thousands of other companies that manufacture overseas are doing a commendable job of protecting foreign workers. Yeah, right!

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