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Apple cited yet again for worker rights abuses

February 28, 2013


As Apple held its Annual General Meeting in Cupertino, California on February 27, activists from the labour rights group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) rallied in front of Apple stores in Hong Kong to protest the continuing abuse of workers that make the company’s popular electronics products.

The day before, SACOM released a new report on working conditions at three Apple supplier factories in China (Foxlink, Pegatron and Wintek) detailing serious worker rights abuses including:

  • employing a significant percentage of workers through third-party outsourcing agencies – up to 80% of the workers interviewed were hired under precarious arrangements that deprive them of statutory benefits and protections;
  • overtime hours well in excess of legal limits and in excess of Apple’s own Code of Conduct;
  • a rise in the use of student interns, who are often coerced into working at the factories;
  • a large amount of unpaid work time, including requiring workers to stay on at night without pay until high production quotas are completed; and
  • persistent problems with poor ventilation and inadequate safety equipment, one year after a dust explosion at the Pegatron factory that injured 59 workers.

Apple Inc.’s own reports promote the great strides the company is supposedly taking to improve conditions in its Chinese supplier factories, but persistent reports of worker rights abuses and a continuing failure to respect Chinese labour law tell a very different story.

SACOM has also released a new video (above) featuring a young woman who worked in an Apple supplier factory. The video, “Those were the years, when I was at Foxconn” provides a glimpse of the lives of those who manufacture the enormously profitable consumer electronics products Apple sells in North America and around the world.