2013 June 28

Apple’s 17 promises vs. 17 realities. Supplier Pegatron violates workers’ rights

The Taiwanese company Pegatron Corp., currently producing one-third of the world's iPhones and iPads, appears to be no better in terms of respect for the human rights of its workers, than Foxconn, the Apple supplier who have made a global name for themselves due to the high number of suicides that have taken place in their factories.

A recent investigation by China Labor Watch at three Pegatron Group factories in China employing a total of 70,000 workers, revealed at least 86 different forms of labour rights violations, including underage labour, contract violations, excessive working hours, insufficient wages, poor working and living conditions, labour health and safety concerns and abuse by management.

In short, the Pegatron factories are violating a great number of international and Chinese laws and standards as well as the standards of Apple's own social responsibility code of conduct.

According to the study, conditions at these factories are so poor that most workers refuse to continue working for long. In a period of two weeks, 30 of 110 new recruits at one of the three factories had left.

Apple has made promises about the conduct of its suppliers, making them complicit in violations found at these factories. Their shift of production away from Foxconn to Pegatron, far from improving their CSR record, seems to be yet again reinforcing the model of labour violations as a way of increasing competitive edge.

According to Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, "We will not tolerate deviations from our code", and will "ensure that corrective actions are taken where needed and report any violations of our code of conduct".

Despite efforts made by Apple to curb the abuse of workers making their products, including joining the Fair Labor Association and the IDH electronics program, CLW's report shows that there is still a very long way to go, emphasising this issue by comparing 17 social promises that Apple has made with 17 contradictory realities uncovered during the investigation. Serious violations are therefore persisting in their supply chain, especially linked to the problems of peak production for the timely release of new products, and their pricing policies, which leave little room for suppliers to improve conditions.

>> The full report can be found here.

>> A CLW-produced short film can be found here.


Electronics Watch is an independent monitoring organization working to achieve respect for labour rights in the global electronics industry through socially responsible public purchasing in Europe.