According to SACOM (Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior), a Hong-Kong watchdog group, accused three of Apple’s Chinese suppliers of inhumane worker conditions. The three suppliers — Foxlink (produce connectors and cable), Pegatron (assemble iPad mini), and Wintek (displays supplier) — fail to provide for basic human needs and continue to use student workers. Apple has already increased its audits of Chinese factories and taken action against those that violate its supplier code of conduct. Regardless, SACOM’s report asserts that some conditions have worsened due in part to heavier demand for Apple products. Forced overtime continues to be imposed on factory workers, who sometimes put in as many as 14 hours a day with only one or two days off for three months at a stretch. Those hours violate both Chinese labor law and Apple’s own standards …
Sacom released a study after talking to 130 workers from three factories at the end of last year. It said the workers were treated “like slaves”. During the peak season employees had to work 14 hours a day. Some got only one or two days of rest in three months. Many were compelled to do unpaid work by having meal times cut short and were required to arrive at the factory before their official work day began. The monthly salary for general workers at the factories ranges from 1,300 yuan (HK$1,600) to 1,400 yuan, but workers usually get between 2,000 and 5,000 yuan because they do a lot of overtime. Factory conditions are also hazardous. Excessive noise, dust, and potentially dangerous chemicals are used on the factory floors, but workers are not told of the possible risks. They are often verbally abused by supervisors and warned to keep quiet or face salary cuts.
In response to the ongoing labor violations, the watchdog group led a protest outside Apple’s Hong Kong Causeway Bay store early this week. The groups chanted that “Apple made so much money last year, but workers still work in misery.” A spokeswoman for Apple in China has told the Hong Kong’s press that they will treat workers with dignity and respect. Apple has tried to address the issue with its Apple Supplier Responsibility reports, but SACOM sees the company’s published supplier code of conduct as insufficient. Working conditions in Chinese factories have come under increasing scrutiny in the past few years, Apple has so far taking its responsibility to monitor its Chinese suppliers, but somehow some suppliers still manage to ’slip through the net.’ Workers that made our Apple’s product should be treated more humane.
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