Monday, July 29, 2013
Apple's supplier Pegatron Violates Workers' Rights
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Pegatron, a Taiwanese company that makes Apple products, is violating workers' rights at its Chinese factories in Shanghai and Suzhou, New York-based rights group China Labor Watch (CLW) said in a report on Monday.
In 2013, Apple has increased its orders to these factories, which have
benefitted from and relied upon labor violations to increase their competitive
CLW's investigations revealed at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36
legal violations and 50 ethical violations. The violations fall into 15
categories: dispatch labor abuse, hiring discrimination, women's rights
violations, underage labor, contract violations, insufficient worker training,
excessive working hours, insufficient wages, poor working conditions, poor
living conditions, difficulty in taking leave, labor health and safety concerns,
ineffective grievance channels, abuse by management, and environmental
In short, China Labor Watch claims that the Pegatron factories are violating a
great number of international and Chinese laws and standards as well as the
standards of Apple?s own social responsibility code of conduct.
In May 2013, Apple heralded that its suppliers had achieved 99 percent
compliance with Apple's 60-hour workweek rule, this despite the fact that 60
hours is a direct violation of China's 49-hour statutory limit. This
"accomplishment" is further discredited by the fact that average weekly working
hours in the three factories probed by CLW are approximately 66 hours, 67 hours,
and 69 hours, respectively. For instance, in Pegatron Shanghai, CLW's
investigation uncovered that workers were forced to sign forms indicating that
their overtime hours were less than the actual levels.
Indeed, a number of Apple's social responsibility promises are being broken,
including those related to worker safety, protecting the environment, and more.
None of the Pegatron factories investigated here, for example, provide
sufficient safety training to workers. At Riteng and AVY, waste water is
disposed of directly into the sewage system, polluting the local water source.
"Conditions at these factories are so poor that most workers refuse to continue
working for long. In a period of two weeks, 30 of 110 new recruits at AVY left,"
CLW's report found.
"Apple has zero tolerance for lapses in the quality of its products. If a
quality issue arises, Apple will do everything it can to have it corrected
immediately. But a lower level of urgency apparently applies in responding to
labor rights abuses. Despite its professed high standards for the treatment of
Apple workers, serious labor violations have persisted year after year. Apple
must prioritize its efforts into halting the abuse of the workers making Apple
CLW executive director Li Qiang said, "Our investigations have shown that labor
conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.
Apple has not lived up to its own standards. This will lead to Apple?s suppliers
abusing labor in order to strengthen their position for receiving orders. In
this way, Apple is worsening conditions for workers, not improving them."
The report brings this issue into sharp relief by comparing 17 social promises
that Apple has made with 17 corresponding realities uncovered during CLW?s
From March to July 2013, CLW sent investigators into the three Pegatron Group
factories to carry out undercover investigations and conduct nearly 200
interviews with workers outside the factories. The factories included Pegatron
Shanghai (producing the iPhone), Riteng (a Pegatron subsidiary in Shanghai
producing Apple computers), and AVY (a Pegatron subsidiary in Suzhou producing
iPad parts). Together, these three Pegatron factories have more than 70,000
Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, which has also been criticized by labor
groups for poor working conditions, now makes most of Apple's top products
through its flagship unit, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.