Apple Jumps to Respond to Latest Asian Labor Allegations

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Philippe Lopez, AFP, Getty Images
Apple (AAPL) is pledging action after once again coming under fire for its suppliers' labor practices in Asia.

On Monday, the New York-based nonprofit China Labor Watch released a report slamming Apple for labor violations at three Shanghai factories run by Pegatron, a Taiwanese company. The report describes a litany of labor abuses, some of which violate both Chinese law and Apple's own Supplier Code of Conduct. The report describes 11-hour shifts at below-average wages, insufficient shower facilities, involuntary overtime and substandard food, among other complaints. It also reveals discriminatory hiring practices, including the exclusion of certain ethnic minorities and people over the age of 35. And it alleges that recruitment agencies used by Pegatron charged unlawful hiring fees and held onto workers' IDs for as long as two weeks, preventing them from resigning and seeking new work.

The report was researched by undercover investigators, who conducted interviews with workers from March to June. It says that the workers at Pegatron's facilities were assembling Apple's new, cheaper iPhone 5C, which has not been formally confirmed by Apple but has been the subject of rumors for some time.

Apple has been stung by bad PR stemming from labor problems at its numerous Asian contractors, including worker suicides and underaged workers at Foxconn, a major partner in China. So it was quick to respond to these latest allegations.

In a statement, Apple said that it had conducted 18 audits of Pegatron facilities over the last six years, and that its previous audits had shown an average work week of 46 hours -- a far cry from the 66-hour work weeks alleged by China Labor Watch's investigation. It also said that it had put a stop to the company holding onto workers' IDs almost as soon as it became aware of the practice.

Still, Apple says that it was unaware of much of the information contained in the report, and it pledged to take steps to address the issues. It says that it will send auditors to the Pegatron factories in question this week, and that it will address any violations of its Code of Conduct and see to it that workers are compensated any unpaid wages.

It's no surprise that Apple is responding so quickly and decisively Monday morning. Conditions at the Foxconn plants have been an ongoing PR nightmare for Apple, and the last thing the company wants is another round of Asian labor headaches.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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18 Comments

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skantorco

WE here in the US cared nothing as thousands and thousands of jobs left for China.....now, we are in Apple's face!
Why not every company and every store that sells Chinese products?
Could it be Apple is a convenient target?
Look around your lives, EVERYTHING or nearly all is manufactured in places for cheap labor...why not condemn it all?

July 30 2013 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
skantorco

Why not "attack" the Chinese, not Apple?

July 30 2013 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DRILLER

And the news is where ?
You couldn't possibly have thought apple went from being, a Slaver, to a straight up honest company in four months?.
and for all you Globalists? What Gulag or Slaver did your parts come from, With the Substandard living conditions, Child labor, unsafe buildings, low wages, abusive practices, and those of you reading this on a Mac? don't even bother responding you shameful thing you.

July 30 2013 at 9:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jeviga

An incentive for American companies with hordes of cash over seas is to allow them to repatriate that cash in exchange for bringing back to the US at least 50% of the jobs now being done by foreigners.....This would have to be a permanent rule.

July 30 2013 at 6:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Murphy

Apples are cool ..but at what cost to American jobs and world wide consumers as apple workers in Asia will never become consumers

July 30 2013 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mykal40

The people who purchase Apple products are the same people that refuse to shop at Wal-mart. ....lol

July 29 2013 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mykal40's comment
seattlewkr

So true too.

July 29 2013 at 10:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
John Murphy

And they buy imported cars

July 30 2013 at 5:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
komivesdd

Would not suprise me if top management is probably reporting 46 hour worker workweeks to corporate, working them 66 hours and paying them only for 46 hours, then the big bosses are pocket the difference money.

July 29 2013 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
jimbon88

It's hilarious when Westerners compare their working conditions to that of the Asians. Why do you think there are lines around the corners for these jobs?? At least they have jobs and aren't relying on the BO hopey changey thing to work for them!!

July 29 2013 at 5:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jimbon88's comment
fernerobin

So you feel American citizens should be glad to have a job that pays $2.00 hour? And if they did take this $2.00 hr job, how could they hope to provide shelter and food for their family? The reason Asian workers can survive on these $2.00 hr jobs is because their government completely controls the economy.

July 29 2013 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fernerobin's comment
CVGMDDaly

The reason Asian workers can survive on these $2.00 hr jobs is because their government completely controls the economy. << so untrue

they look for other jobs or go on extended working hours and the government does not completely control the economy. they are all forced to live on meager means.

July 30 2013 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Maverick

I wonder when Apple checks these out if it includes the Chinese Cultural aspect of 'saving face' - where no one will admit wrong...

July 29 2013 at 4:36 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Will

apple should build everything hear in the usa. steve jobs just liked to screw the American worker for a few extra pennies in his pocket. he got what he gave.

July 29 2013 at 4:18 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply