NGO accuses a US Apple supplier of labour violations

China Labour Watch has released a document exposing the Wuxi city factories of Apple supplier Jabil Circuit Inc.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 5:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 5:59pm

The advocacy group China Labour Watch has released yet another report exposing alleged human rights violations at the Chinese factories of a US Apple supplier.

The 24-page report, officially released on 5 September, is the latest in the New York-based advocacy group’s series highlighting labour problems in Apple’s China supply factories. Titled “Chinese workers exploited by US-owned iPhone supplier,” the report focuses on the Wuxi city factories of Jabil Circuit Inc., a US company headquarted in Florida and one of the largest electronic manufacturing service companies in the world.

“It seems that wherever Apple products are made, labour rights are infringed upon, even if the supplier factory is owned by a US-based company,” the report reads.

The report claims that forced overtime, short “five-minute” meal breaks, and overcrowding are only some of the violations of Chinese law and Apple’s code of conduct that occur in the Jabil Circuit factories.

Income disparities are also highlighted. According to the report, the average monthly income for a worker at the factories is only 1,500 yuan (HK$ 1,900), well below the 2,890 yuan (HK$ 37,000) that private industry employees in Wuxi city usually make.

Jabil Circuit issued an official response to the allegations and said that the company was "troubled" and "taking immediate action."

“We are disheartened that there are allegations that we are not living up to our own standards, yet we are proud of the progress we’ve made in ensuring every Jabil employee is treated with dignity and respect and provided the opportunity for personal and professional growth," the response read. 

Apple responded to the allegations by saying the comany was “committed to providing safe and fair working conditions,” and had been working with Jabil Circuit to keep an eye on the Wuxi factories.

China Labour Watch’s previous reports have focused on Taiwanese companies Pegatron and Foxconn, which have also provided components for Apple’s iPhones. Kevin Slator, China Labour Watch programme co-ordinator, told the Post in a July interview that “Apple [was] a leader in the electronics industry,” and the goal of the advocacy group was to force the company “to be a leader in how they treat their workers.”