A new report published today by non-profit organization Green America and industry watchdog China Labor Watch accuses Apple of various violations of Chinese labor laws at one of its suppliers in the country (via NYTimes). The investigation focused on Apple supplier Catcher Technology in Suqian, China and claims to have found violations similar to those found during an audit of the same supplier last year:
The plant manufactures metal casings for a number of consumer electronics companies including Apple, Inc. While at the factory, the investigator worked on parts for the latest iPad. This factory also continues to produce parts for a 5th generation iPhone, and its sister factory, Catcher Technology in Taizhou, is producing parts for the iPhone 6. The investigator discovered extensive violations of Chinese labor laws, as well as violations of Catcher’s policies and Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which details standards for worker rights and environmental sustainability for any company supplying to Apple. Many of the violations were similar to those found in a 2013 investigation of the same plant, the results of which were shared with Apple by China Labor Watch.
The extensive 26 page report details 22 violations discovered by a private investigator at the supplier’s facilities including infractions related to hiring, working hours, wages and benefits, management, student labor, worker representations and grievances, living conditions, and environment, health and occupational safety concerns.
Apple responded to the allegations in a brief comment provided to The New York Times saying it has worked with the supplier to correct violations following a previous audit in May: Apple said its most recent annual audit of the Suqian plant, in May, had “found some concrete areas for improvement in Catcher’s operations, and we worked with Catcher to develop a corrective action plan.”
Today’s report, however, also addresses Apple’s comment by highlighting problems with the corrective measures Apple takes following the discovery of violations: after the inspections are complete and the corrective action plans are handed down to factories from Apple, there are often no fundamental improvements in labor conditions and treatment of workers making Apple products.
The full report is available here.
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