Rights Group Finds Numerous Violations at Pegatron Plants | Print |  E-mail
Written by Mike Buetow   
Monday, 29 July 2013 13:42

NEW YORK -- A New York based labor rights group is again going after Apple for violations at its subcontractors' factories. What's notable this time is the China Labor Watch has turned its attention to Pegatron.

In an investigative report released today, CLW details alleged labor violations at three Pegatron factories occurring as recently as this month.

Apple this year began shifting more orders to Pegatron, presumably at the expense of Foxconn, its primary supplier for printed circuit boards and assemblies. According to CLW, Pegatron has "benefited from and relied upon labor violations" to increase its competitive edge.

According to CLW, its investigations found at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations. The watchdog says the violations are far-ranging, and include dispatch labor abuse, hiring discrimination, women’s rights violations, underage labor, contract violations, insufficient worker training, excessive working hours, insufficient wages, poor working conditions, poor living conditions, difficulty in taking leave, labor health and safety concerns, ineffective grievance channels, abuse by management, and environmental pollution.

"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," CLW said.

"In May 2013, Apple heralded that its suppliers had achieved 99% compliance with Apple’s 60-hour workweek rule, this despite the fact that 60 hours is a direct violation of China’s 49-hour statutory limit.  This “accomplishment” is further discredited by the fact that average weekly working hours in the three factories probed by CLW are approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively. For instance, in Pegatron Shanghai, our investigation uncovered that workers were forced to sign forms indicating that their overtime hours were less than the actual levels.

"Indeed, a number of Apple’s social responsibility promises are being broken, including those related to worker safety, protecting the environment, and more. None of the Pegatron factories investigated here, for example, provide sufficient safety training to workers. At Riteng and AVY, waste water is disposed of directly into the sewage system, polluting the local water source.

"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 AVY left."

Despite the alleged violations, Apple continues to source from Pegatron, CLW said, which the rights group insists makes Apple complicit in the abuse.

"Apple has zero tolerance for lapses in the quality of its products. If a quality issue arises, Apple will do everything it can to have it corrected immediately. But a lower level of urgency apparently applies in responding to labor rights abuses. Despite its professed high standards for the treatment of Apple workers, serious labor violations have persisted year after year. Apple must prioritize its efforts into halting the abuse of the workers making Apple products."

CLW executive director Li Qiang said, “Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories. Apple has not lived up to its own standards. This will lead to Apple’s suppliers abusing labor in order to strengthen their position for receiving orders. In this way, Apple is worsening conditions for workers, not improving them.”

CLW’s investigation was conducted between March and July, when undercover investigators entered the three Pegatron factories and conducted nearly 200 interviews with workers outside the factories. The factories included Pegatron Shanghai (producing the iPhone), Riteng (a Pegatron subsidiary in Shanghai producing Apple computers), and AVY (a Pegatron subsidiary in Suzhou producing iPad parts). Together, these three Pegatron factories have more than 70,000 employees.

The full report can be here.

A CLW-produced short film can be found here.

More CLW investigations into the electronics industry supply chain:

2012 report on eight Samsung suppliers.

2012 report on 10 Apple supplier.

 

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