Apple Says It Will Investigate After China Labor Watch Accusations

China Labor Watch (CLW), New York-based watchdog had accused Apple supplier, Pegatron, of insufficient wages to employees and poor working conditions in three factories. Apple claims in a statement that it will investigate after some of the claims from the report. CLW had written in the report 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.

Apple says, “We have been working with CLW in advance of the report, and the latest report contains claims that are new to the company. We will investigate them immediately.

The violations which CLW found out after sending undercover investigators to three Pegatron factories fall into 15 categories. Some of them are: hiring discrimination, underage labor, insufficient worker training, women’s rights violations, excessive working hours, poor working conditions, poor living conditions, insufficient wages, labor health and safety concerns, abuse by management and ineffective grievance channels.

Earlier also, Pegatron has been in trouble for its practices. Three of Pegatron’s subsidiaries were alleged to be spewing harmful gases in the air in 2011. CLW’s allegations will definitely place more pressure on Apple. Safety issues at another Apple supplier Foxconn and the case of it taking on interns as young as 14 years old etc have already been egging out on it.

Meanwhile, Apple has come up with a statement which emphasizes that it has conducted 15 audits with Pegatron since 2007. The statement reads as follows:

Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain. We lead the industry with far-reaching and specialized audits, the most transparent reporting and educational programs that enrich the lives of workers who make our products. Apple is the first and only technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, and we are dedicated to protecting every worker in our supply chain.

As a part of our extensive Supplier Responsibility program, Apple has conducted 15 comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007, covering more than 130,000 workers making Apple products including annual audits of Pegatron’s final assembly locations and surprise audits at both RiTeng and AVY within the past 18 months.

Additionally, we have closely tracked working hours at all of these facilities. Our most recent survey in June found that Pegatron employees making Apple products worked 46 hours per week on average. Excessive overtime is not in anyone’s best interest, and we work closely with our suppliers to prevent it. Apple surveys working hours for more than 1 million employees across our supply chain each month and we report the findings on our website.

We have been in close contact with China Labor Watch for several months, investigating issues they’ve raised and sharing our findings. When they first told us that workers’ ID cards were being withheld, an auditor from our Supplier Responsibility program was on site the next day to investigate. We confirmed that labor brokers for Pegatron were holding a small number of IDs as they helped set up bank accounts for those employees. We demanded Pegatron put a stop to this practice and a new system was in place within a week.

Their latest report contains claims that are new to us and we will investigate them immediately. Our audit teams will return to Pegatron, RiTeng and AVY for special inspections this week. 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.

Our audits involve a thorough review of timecards and other documents to guard against falsification. We will investigate these new claims thoroughly, ensure that corrective actions are taken where needed and report any violations of our code of conduct. We will not tolerate deviations from our code.

Apple believes in transparency and accountability, both for our suppliers and ourselves. We realize being a leader in workers rights and being transparent with our findings opens us to criticism, but we believe strongly that we can make a big difference in the lives of millions of people by doing so and this provides us the courage and resilience to continue the journey. We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to uncover problems and improve conditions for workers. By vigorously enforcing our supplier code of conduct, we ensure that our suppliers follow the same principles and values we hold true.”

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