Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

China Labor Watch, the organization behind the report accusing Apple supplier Pegatron of poor treatment of workers (that, in passing, seemingly confirmed that the iPhone 5C was plastic-bodied), has now made fresh allegations against Jabil Circuit, a company it says is also involved in production of the 5C.

Among the infringements uncovered by CLW include millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages; over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, three times in excess of legal limits; more than 11 hours of standing work every day with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks; illegally inadequate pre-work training; hiring discrimination; and more.

Apple previously responded to the Pegatron report with a lengthy statement on the steps already taken and the further steps it planned to take. Apple publishes an annual Supplier Responsibility Report and conducts frequent audits of its suppliers, along with commissioning the independent non-profit Fair Labor Association to conduct independent audits.

Jabil Circuit has not yet been confirmed as an Apple supplier. The iPhone 5C is expected to be unveiled on 10th September.

Via TNW

 

Update: All Things Digital has Apple’s response:

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 part of our extensive Supplier Responsibility program, Apple has conducted 14 comprehensive audits at Jabil facilities since 2008, including three audits of Jabil Wuxi in the past 36 months. We take any concerns about our suppliers very seriously, and our team of experts is on-site at Jabil Wuxi to look into the new claims about conditions there. Jabil has a proactive auditing program of their own and they have an excellent track record of meeting Apple’s high standards.

Employees at Jabil are among the 1 million workers in Apple’s supply chain whose working hours we track each week and report on our website. Year to date, Jabil Wuxi has performed above our 92% average for compliance with Apple’s 60-hour per week limit. An audit completed earlier this year did find that some employees had worked more than six consecutive days without a day of rest, and Jabil has been working with our team to better manage overtime.

We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to improve conditions for workers. Our program goes far beyond monitoring by ensuring corrective actions where they are needed and aggressively enforcing our supplier code of conduct wherever Apple products are made. We believe in transparency and accountability, both for our suppliers and ourselves.

Full press release from China Labor Watch:

Fresh labor violations in Chinese factory producing the “cheap” iPhone
China Labor Watch

September 5, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(NEW YORK) A new undercover investigation by China Labor Watch (CLW) has revealed a series of ethical and legal labor violations in a factory in Wuxi, China owned by U.S. electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit that is currently producing the soon-to-be-released cheap iPhone for Apple.

Among the infringements uncovered by CLW include millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages; over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, three times in excess of legal limits; more than 11 hours of standing work every day with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks; illegally inadequate pre-work training; hiring discrimination; and more.

Many of the violations raised in CLW’s report also contradict the codes of conduct of both Apple and Jabil Circuit. Despite half a decade of outside investigations and self-reporting on myriad labor abuse throughout its Chinese supply chain, Apple has continually failed to compel supplier factories to conform to Apple’s code of conduct and local labor laws before giving these suppliers Apple production orders.

CLW’s newest report is not only evidence that Apple and its suppliers continue to infringe upon the labor rights and human rights of the workers making Apple products, it also evidence that such supplier factories are not restricted to Asian-owned factories. Jabil Circuit is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Below are the primary legal and ethical violations uncovered at Jabil Green Point:

• Heavy use of dispatch workers beyond statutory limits.
• Dispatch workers charged fees by dispatch companies and employment agencies.
• Hiring discrimination (age 18-35, tattoos).
• Potential hiring discrimination against pregnant women.
• Workers made to sign a number of hiring documents which are meant to free Jabil from liability, but workers are not given time to understand the documents they sign and are not given a copy of the documents.
• Training is only two hours.
• Training is perfunctory, exam answers are given by trainer to be copied.
• Training lacks information on safety despite a number of positions in the factory that involve regular contact with harmful chemicals, loud noises, or other hazards, leading to workers using protective equipment in incorrect ways.
• 110 hours of overtime per month is common, which is in excess of Apple’s own code and even further in excess of Chinese statutory regulations on overtime hours.
• 11.5 hours of standing work per day.
• Despite work intensity and continual standing, workers are given no breaks outside of meal breaks during a 12-hour shift.
• Each worker is forced to work 11 hours of unpaid overtime every month.
• Overtime is usually mandatory.
• Potential audit fraud–daily factory attendance records display workers’ working hours as an hour less than their real working hours.
• Some overtime hours are paid at rates less than that required by labor laws.
• Crowded dorms have eight people per room.
• Night- and day-shift workers are assigned the same rooms, leading to workers’ sleep being interrupted by one another.
• Short breaks only provide many workers with just minutes to eat.
• In order to meet high production quotas for iPhone covers, Jabil workers have to violate Jabil’s own standard operating procedures, and management tacitly consents to the violations.
• Fire escape routes in some production departments are not clear.
• There is a list of punishments at Jabil that workers must sign before working, but the workers are not given a copy of these punishments.
• Workers rely on overtime work to earn a living wage.
• Lack of effective grievance channels.

Read the full English report.

Watch the CLW video.

About China Labor Watch:

Founded in 2000, China Labor Watch is an independent not-for-profit organization. For the past ten years, CLW has collaborated with labor organizations and the media to conduct a series of in-depth assessments of factories in China that produce toys, bikes, shoes, furniture, clothing, and electronics for some of the world’s largest companies. CLW’s New York office creates reports from these investigations, educates the international community on supply chain labor issues, and pressures corporations to improve conditions for workers.

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One Response to “Alleged Apple Supplier Jabil Circuit accused of numerous labor law violations [update: Apple responds]”

  1. Marklewood at Serenity Lodge says:

    While I don’t doubt that there are work related infringements at these supply-chain factories, and others, I do not believe that Apple is at fault. America is at fault first and foremost, because we cannot offer companies like Apple the technological environment in which to produce their products here. In addition, Apple is not the only tech firm that buys it’s parts from companies like these. All “American” computer and tech companies, as well as car manufacturers, get their parts from supply chains that employe cheep labor overseas. When reporting, it seems lopsided to try to place the onus upon one company, in this case, Apple. It’s dishonest and biased. Such reporting is sloppy at best.

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