Apple designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers and also operates retail stores. Its best-known hardware products are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone – Apple is the world’s third largest mobile phone-maker after Samsung and Nokia.
Video: NGO releases report on labour violations by Apple supplier
China Labour Watch video reveals abuses at Pegatron factories in China
China Labour Watch has released a video report highlighting labour violations in the mainland factories of Taiwanese company Pegatron - which is the second-biggest electronics manufacturing contractor for Apple.
The video complements a 60-page report that the New York-based advocacy group released on July 29, claiming Pegatron's factories "employ thousands of student workers," and that employees are "forced to accept up to 14 hours of unpaid work every month." Poor living conditions, polluted water, denial of maternity leave and illegal fees charged by abusive hiring agencies are only some of the 86 violations that China Labour Watch claims to have uncovered through its investigations. The video also reports that most of the "Supplier Responsibility" promises on Apple's website, such as a statement that says supply factory employees will not be made to work more than 60 hours per week, are "at best, unrealised goals".
A statement from Apple responding to China Labour Watch's newest allegations said that the American electronics company was "committed to providing safe and fair working conditions," and had kept a careful watch on Pegatron's supply factories.
"We have closely tracked working hours at all of [our supply] facilities," the statement read. "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.
"We have been in close contact with China Labour Watch for several months, investigating issues they've raised and sharing our findings... Their latest report contains claims that are new to us and we will investigate them 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."
Kevin Slater, programme co-ordinator for China Labour Watch, told the South China Morning Post that neither Apple nor Pegatron had denied the labour violations exposed in the video, and both companies have said they would follow up the matter. Slater also explained that China Labour Watch's reports were not designed to defame Apple, but to inspire the company to "stick with suppliers that improve conditions [for workers]".
"Apple is a leader in the electronics industry," Slater said. "Our long-term goal is to keep moving leaders forward... They need to be a leader in how they treat their workers [as well]."
Pegatron began servicing Apple with iPad and iPhone production in late 2012. China Labour Watch said that undercover investigators had been sent to three Pegatron factories on the mainland between March and July this year.