Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products are made at many of the Chinese factories where workers are not treated properly, such claims are not new. However, on Thursday, an investigation broadcast was made by the BBC informing that many of the workers are getting exhausted with work and sleeping during the 12-hour shift they serve.

BBC has evidence

At the Pegatron factories, jobs were taken by undercover reporters and they came with surprising findings. The company’s guidance restricts them to working 60 hours a week, but it was found that the limit was exceeded regularly by them. Breach of standards on ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were also noticed. In the year 2010, a spate of suicides took place at supplier Foxconn after which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) made numerous promises, and now the broadcaster notes that all those are routinely broken.

At a Pegatron factory, a health and safety exam was conducted in which answers were chanted out by workers in unison so as to avoid any chances of failures, and this was filmed by the BBC. It seemed like the workers had no choice but to work at nights or keep standing while working. BBC, further, reported that for 18 days in continuity a reporter had to work, and his request for a day off was ignored all through.

Apple denying all claims

The conclusions drawn by BBC were disagreed upon by Apple. “We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions,” the US consumer electronics giant told the BBC. The company said that for addressing the shortfalls it worked with suppliers, and it did lead to significant improvement of continuous nature. The company, further, informed that it monitored the hours worked by over one million employees after which it was found that 55 hours a week was the average of the staff at Taiwanese-owned Pegatron.

Panorama is the name of the flagship programme by BBC, and in the investigation it was also found that the supply chain of Apple can have the tins from illegal mines in Indonesia. BBC was told by Apple that it is making sincere attempts for driving the changes, but it did not want to withdraw from Indonesian mines altogether as it will be “the lazy and cowardly path, since it would do nothing to improve the situation,” said Apple.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am confident that these factories have much better working conditions compared to the majority of all other Chinese factories.

  2. I saw this documentary last night. I’ve never been so disgusted. With the BBC, that is.

    Every bad safety practice or violation of workers rights that was highlighted was attributed solely to Apple. Pegatron overworking their employees? Apple’s fault. People starting illegal tin mines in desperate attempt to earn money to stay alive? Apple’s fault.

    Despite the fact that Apple’s supplier guidance and contract conditions dictate that such occurrences must not happen (but obviously still do), no blame was attributed to Pegatron et al. More than that, it was strongly implied that this supplier uniquely supplies Apple alone, as if they were an Apple subsidiary. Never mind that the company supplies other mobile manufacturers too.

    That illegally mined tin that finds its way into the Apple supply chain? You got the impression that the BBC think it’s exclusively used in iPhones. Hey BBC cameraman, you see that camera on your shoulder? Have a look at its circuit boards. Are you sure there’s no illegal tin in those solder blobs? Really, really sure?

    That tin is smelted together with legally mined tin, as discussed in the program. It’s then sold by suppliers into the supply chain of every consumer electronics company on Earth. If you have a phone, computer, TV or recent car, I virtually guarantee there’s some of that illegal tin in it. So why is the BBC putting the blame soley at Apple’s feet?

    Because Apple dared to list out the standards they demand of their suppliers. They documented what they expect in hundreds of areas. They encourage their supplier to conform to these standards and they police it where they can. Other manufacturers don’t. Many don’t even care. But Apple do, so they have a document that can be misused by documentary makers and used as a weapon against them. That is the premise of the “broken promises” constantly referred to during the program.

    Look, they’re a big company, they have global responsibilities and they need to put some weight behind them. But if an employee of Pegatron is refused leave, or worked so hard that they fall asleep on the job, is that primarily Apple’s fault, or Pegatron’s? Apple have a responsibility to police this kind of thing, but they can’t be everywhere.

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