China Labor Watch levies serious allegations at Apple supplier Pegatron, while Apple stands by its supplier oversight policy.
Apple is promising to investigate allegations made by advocacy group China Labor Watch (CLW), after it released a scathing report which claimed Taipei-based Pegatron and its subsidiaries are violating Chinese labor and environmental laws in its factories that manufacture components for Apple.
The report can be read here in its entirety.
CLW claims that its investigators discovered at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations during their undercover research at Pegatron’s facilities in China. In addition, Pegatron claims in its report — titled “Apple’s unkept promises” — that a number of Apple’s social responsibility promises are being broken.
“Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories,” Li Qiang, CLW’s executive director said in a statement. “Apple is worsening conditions for workers, not improving them. Apple has not lived up to its own standards.”
For its part Apple has issued a statement that says it actively engages in audits of suppliers and their subsidiaries, stating that it has conducted “15 comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007.”
The report from CLW is 62-pages long and most of its claims are leveled at Pegatron subsidiaries AVY Precision Electroplating and Riteng Computer Components.
Here are some of the key allegations from the report:
Weekly working hours for the majority of production workers are between 67-69 hours a week (China’s legal limit is 49-hours per week).
- Wages started at 1620 RMB a month ($270), before overtime, night shift bonuses and seniority pay.
- Workers work 12-hour shifts on average.
Pregnant women were made to work the same long hours as other workers, putting in 11 hour days for six days per week.
While Apple says that all overtime work must be voluntary, the report alleges all three Pegatron factories punish a worker who refuses an overtime assignment with not offering overtime for the entire month.
Workers under the age of 18 worked the same shifts as adult workers, but at a lower wage as they were usually completing internships as required by vocational schools.
The report alleges that workers are not compensated for daily meetings.
- Workers are verbally berated by supervisors for minor misdeeds.
If a worker quits at the AVY factory within the first two weeks, it is difficult to retrieve compensation.
Pegatron refuses to hire workers who are of Hui, Tibetan, or Uighur (many Uighurs are Muslim).
Workers who are under 4 foot 11 inches, older than 35, or have tattoos, allegedly will not be hired by Pegatron.
Industrial waste is poured directly into the city sewer system without being treated.
No first-aid facilities are available in the factories. The report says that workers who cut themselves on the job are not given bandages, but are told to tape their wounds.
Company dorm rooms are crowded and unsanitary.
Pegatron’s factories employ approximately 130,000 workers in China, and have rapidly expanded as Apple looks to engage new suppliers to lessen its reliance on Foxconn.
Pegatron could not be contacted for comment Monday afternoon (Taiwan time). Emails sent to its spokespeople and investor relations contacts in Taipei were returned with an out of office notification. Calls to a publicly listed investor relations number on Pegatron’s website could not be connected as the number was “out of service.”
Below is a short film produced by CLW on Apple’s “broken promises”:
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