September 19, 2020

Apple suppliers accused of poor treatment of workers


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pegatronFrom Business Insider

London (AFP) – Workers in Chinese factories making Apple products are poorly treated, with exhausted employees falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts, British broadcaster the BBC found in an investigation broadcast.

Reporters who took jobs undercover at the Pegatron factories found workers regularly exceeded 60 hours a week — more than the company’s guidance — and that standards on ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were also breached.

The broadcaster said promises made by Apple to protect workers in the wake of a spate of suicides at supplier Foxconn in 2010 were “routinely broken”.

Apple said that it disagreed with the BBC’s conclusions.

“We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions,” the US consumer electronics giant told the BBC.

afp-apple-suppliers-accused-of-poor-treatment-of-workers“We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done.”

The company said that it was common for workers to sleep during breaks, but that it would investigate whether they were falling asleep while working.

It also said it monitored the hours worked by over one million workers, and that staff at Taiwanese-owned Pegatron averaged 55 hours a week.

The BBC filmed a health and safety exam at a Pegatron factory in which workers chanted out answers in unison, meaning there was little chance of failing.

The footage also appeared to show workers had no choice to opt out of working nights or while standing.

One reporter had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off, the BBC reported.

The investigation by BBC flagship programme Panorama also found that tin from illegal mines in Indonesia where children work in dangerous conditions could be entering Apple’s supple chain.

Apple, which promotes ethically sourced minerals, told the BBC it was attempting to drive changes, and that withdrawing from Indonesian mines altogether would be “the lazy and cowardly path, since it would do nothing to improve the situation”.

IMAGE: Customers inside an Apple store in Beijing, December 16, 2014 © AFP Greg Baker

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Related story:

Apple responds to BBC criticism of worker treatment by Apple’s suppliers

By Leif Johnson From Mac Life

BBC One’s documentary called “Apple’s Broken Promises” aired in the UK today, but ahead of the broadcast, the network published a story detailing what it discovered when it investigated the mines in Indonesia and factories in China where Apple’s product supplies are made and gathered. Apple released a statement addressing the documentary.

Reporter Richard Bilton and his Panorama team created the hour-long documentary. Panorama employed several reporters for the project, who then worked at Pegatron factories in China where they say they found multiple violations regarding young workers, ID, cards, and the like. (Notably, specifically regarding juvenile workers, it doesn’t clarify what these violations are.)

But most of the news from the factories arises from the hours the workers endure. One reportedly worked 18 days in a row without a single day off, despite multiple requests for one. Other workers were caught falling asleep in the middle of their 12-hour shifts, and one reporter even worked a 16-hour shift.

The big problem with the shifts is that the extra hours are supposed to be voluntary, but they’re not in practice. Workers were sometimes required to attend work meetings off the clock (and with no pay, and living quarters sometimes had as many as 12 people living in the same room.

Panorama’s investigations seemed a little more speculative in Indonesia, as they suggested illegal tin could be making it into Apple’s supply lines without its knowledge.

In the same report, the BBC acknowledged that Apple had released a statement:

“We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions,” Apple’s statement said. “We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done.”

In fact, Apple’s statement seems to suggest that the recorded conditions may date from a time before Tim Cook’s drive for Apple to be “a force for good.” Apple further noted that the crowded conditions in the dormitories had been resolved, and that its suppliers are now required to retroactively required to pay workers for time spent in meetings. As for Indonesia? The Cupertino giant claims the situation is “complex,” owing to the many miners selling tin through middlemen.

IMAGE: Source: AppAdvice

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