Home English News Apple accused of failing to protect workers in China!

Apple accused of failing to protect workers in China!

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phone-making-chinaNew Delhi, December 20 – Apple’s woes with work conditions in the factories run by its Chinese manufacturing partners are well documented. While Apple has actively taken measures to improve the work conditions, it appears not much has changed.

BBC has conducted an investigation, which shows the poor conditions the workers producing Apple goods have to live in. The investigation shows the poor conditions in a Pegatron factory in China, which manufactures the iPhone 6.

The report highlights the fact that the measures that Apple had taken back in 2012 in the aftermath of the New York Times report are broken routinely. According to the report, standards in relation to work hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings, and juvenile workers are being flouted regularly in a Pegatron factory.

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The report claimed that one undercover reporter had to work 18 days continuously despite repeated requests for an off. The reporter said that the longest shift was 16 hours long.

According to Apple, 95 per cent of its suppliers in 2013 were in compliance of a 60-hour workweek. The poor conditions in which Chinese workers operated were highlighted first back in 2010 when 14 workers committed suicides.

Previously, Apple’s manufacturing partners Foxconn and Pegatron have been criticised. Back in 2010, 137 workers were injured in eastern China after workers were instructed to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens.

In 2011, two explosions at iPad factories took lives of 4 workers and left 77 injured. The BBC report states that according to Apple’s standards, overtime is voluntary. However, its undercover reporters were never given a choice.

One reporter even alleged that he/she had to attend unpaid meetings before and after work. Apple, for its part claims, that workers are retroactively paid, if it is found that they have not been paid for meetings.

Even the dormitories are overcrowded. The report highlights that once 12 people shared a cramped room. Apple on the contrary claims that the issue of the overcrowding of dormitories has been resolved.

The report dug deeper and even took a look at Apple’s supply chain. Apple proudly claims on its website that it trains its suppliers and its employees “to address hazards while working in a supplier facility.”

“In 2013, we trained over 320 supplier personnel on topics such as lasers, non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, and accident prevention. Over 100 supplier personnel – including 100 per cent of our anodizing suppliers – were trained on chemical hazards management, and we completed chemical hazards assessments and industrial hygiene monitoring at nearly 20 facilities,” Apple claims on its website.

But the BBC report found that Apple’s suppliers indulged in unethical and illegal sourcing. Reportedly, the evidence suggested that tin from illegal mines could be entering Apple’s supply chain. Disturbingly, the report found that children were digging the tin ore by hand.

The conditions were termed so dangerous that miners could get buried alive in the case the walls of sand or mud collapsed. The report quoted 12-year-old Rinato, who worked in the Indonesian island of Bangka. “I worry about landslides. The earth slipping from up there to the bottom. It could happen,” he said.

INDIA TODAY