According to an upcoming report from the China Labor Watch, outlined by the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s China-based manufacturing partner Pegatron has come under fire for worker conditions. The report outlines several claims which shed a negative light on Pegatron:
- Pegatron is claimed to be withholding worker IDs. This means that Pegatron employees are unable to work elsewhere because they lack proper identification.
- The company is also claimed to be providing “poor living conditions” with “30-minute waits to enter their production facility, tight living quarters, and packed cafeterias.” Cold showers and packed dorms are also noted.
- Workers are claimed to be working over 60 hours a week (Apple’s limit), while Apple’s June Supplier Responsibility paper points to a 46-hour work-week average for Pegatron employees.
- At a Pegatron subsidiary, employees are said to be provided gloves that do not sufficiently protect from the materials used to create metal backplates for the iPad.
As for pay, the report claims that some workers are seeing their payment withheld. Within this issue, recruiting companies for Pegatron have come under fire for not paying the workers enough. These recruiting companies, in some situations, are even fining employees:
Recruitment firms, which are paid for each worker they refer, often take part of a worker’s pay if the employee fails to work a fixed period and also sometimes fails to provide legally mandated insurance that Pegatron says it is paying the recruiters to provide, according to labor groups. One worker from Henan province surnamed Zhu said she was hired through an intermediary recruiting company, and has now found that she has to work for three months to avoid fines from the recruiter. Ms. Zhu, who works on an iPhone assembly line, said she plans to leave the factory after three months. “They don’t tell you everything,” she said.
For its part, Apple has already responded to the newly arising complaints:
Apple, in a statement, said it is “committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain.” It said that it has conducted 15 comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007, including surprise audits within the past 18 months.
Apple said it confirmed that some labor brokers were withholding worker ID cards and demanded Pegatron “put a stop” to it. The U.S. company said it will investigate claims in the China Labor Watch report and take corrective action where needed.
Early last year, complaints regarding Foxconn/Apple working conditions reached new heights, including being discussed at a mainstream level. Since then, Apple CEO Tim Cook has visited Foxconn and sent a clear message to employees regarding the allegations: “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern.”