China Labour Watch claims it found 86 violations at three Pegatron factories in China
A New York-based labour rights group has accused Pegatron, a Taiwanese company that makes iPhones and iPad components for Apple, of violating worker rights at three of its factories in China.
In a report published on Monday, China Labour Watch (CLW) claimed Pegatron was guilty of a range of violations, from hiring discrimination and poor working conditions to abuse by management and under-age labour. The organisation said the factories “have benefited from and relied upon labour violations to increase their competitive edge”.
Pegatron and Apple have both promised to investigate the allegations.
“Worse than Foxconn”
In its report, CLW said that in five months, it uncovered at least 86 labour rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations at factories in Shanghai and Suzhou. The organisation said its undercover investigators found that conditions at Pegatron were “worse than those at Foxconn factories”, referring to another notable Apple supplier.
In 2010, after Steve Jobs had to defend his company against accusations that jobs at Foxconn had pushed some of its workers to suicide, Apple promised it would demand better work conditions from its suppliers. In the following years, Apple’s partners were repeatedly accused of worker rights violations, with Apple repeatedly offering to make amends.
According to CLW, conditions at Pegatron facilities remain below standards set by Apple. Chinese law allows for a 40-hour working week, plus nine hours of overtime. The organisation claimed average weekly working hours in the three factories it investigated stood at 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, with overtime mandatory for most .
CLW said it found that during busy seasons, workers didn’t get the legally required minimum 24 hours of training, and some factories had policies against employing people of the Hui, Tibetan, or Uighur ethnic groups.
“In short, 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,” said the report.
In response, Pegatron has promised to launch its own investigation. “We strive to make each day at Pegatron better than the last for our employees. They are the heart of our business. That’s why we take these allegations very seriously,” said Jason Cheng, CEO of the company in a statement to Reuters.
Apple said it had conducted 15 audits at Pegatron factories since 2007, and will investigate the new allegations “immediately”. “If our audits find that workers have been underpaid or denied compensation for any time they’ve worked, we will require that Pegatron reimburse them in full,” Apple said in a statement.
“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 labour rights abuses,” read the report.
“Despite its professed high standards for the treatment of Apple workers, serious labour violations have persisted year after year. Apple must prioritize its efforts into halting the abuse of the workers making Apple products.”
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