Apple Supplier Responds To Documentary Exposing Brutal Working Conditions

Apple factoryBBCThe BBC showed many images like this, of a worker falling asleep at an iPhone factory. We don’t know if this particular factory is owned by Pegatron, however.

Days after the BBC aired a brutal documentary exposing the questionable practices of some of Apple’s main component suppliers, one of those suppliers, Pegatron Technology, said Monday it planned to investigate the claims.

Pegatron issued its statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange (via Digitimes). It also mentioned that worker safety is its top priority.

The statement made no mention of Apple, as Pegatron is not an exclusive Apple supplier. It also makes parts for and builds computer peripherals, laptops, desktops, game consoles, video cards, smartphones, LCD TVs, and more. 

In the documentary that aired last Thursday, the BBC  showed factory workers falling asleep at their posts, overcrowded living spaces, and instances of bullying from factory managers. 

Ralph Nader is quoted in BBC’s documentary as saying “the conditions of work are totally physically intolerable.”

Apple was swift to respond to the allegations. Jeff Williams, senior VP of operations at Apple, said he and CEO Tim Cook were “deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way.”

This isn’t the first time Pegatron has been in hot water over alleged labour violations.

In July of last year, Chinese workers’ rights group China Labour Watch accused Pegatron of violating at least 86 major safety and environmental standards, including hiring discrimination, underage labour, contract violations, excessive working hours, insufficient wages, and poor working and living conditions. 

Apple provided a lengthy response to The Wall Street Journal responding to those initial allegations, but shortly after that Pegatron was again named by The New York Times when an underage Pegatron worker died from pneumonia-related causes. The worker was able to secure a job there with a fake ID that said he was 20, when in fact he was only 15 years old.

Since then, Apple says it’s doubled down on its commitment to keeping its supply chains safe, namely by working with third parties to keep factories free from pollution and corruption on a more consistent basis.

Apple conducted 51% more audits of its supply chains in 2013 than it did the year before. Apple will issue its next supplier responsibility progress report in January.

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