Tuesday, November 17, 2020 by Ramon Tomey
Technology company Apple Inc. froze its business with its Taiwanese partner Pegatron Corp. after Apple discovered the iPhone assembler’s labor violations.
According to the California-based tech giant, Pegatron misclassified student workers and allowed some to work nights and overtime. Employees subsequently “went to extraordinary lengths” to cover up the violations – which went against Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
In a statement, Apple said it has since placed Pegatron on probation until corrective action is completed.
“We are working on the corrective actions and are confident that we will complete it soon,” a Pegatron spokeswoman said Nov. 9. The Taiwanese firm said the violations took place at its Shanghai and Kunshan campuses in eastern China, adding that it has taken “quick action” to strengthen its procedures.
Pegatron acknowledged that the students working night shifts, overtime and in positions unrelated to their majors were “not in compliance with local rules and regulations.” In a statement, the company said that it “immediately took the student workers off production lines” and “worked … to make appropriate arrangements for [the student workers] to return to their homes or schools with proper compensation, alongside all necessary support and care” after the violations were discovered.
According to Apple, while it did not find evidence of forced or underage labor, it found that Pegatron “misclassified the student workers in their program and falsified paperwork to disguise violations.” Furthermore, the tech giant added that “the individuals at Pegatron responsible for the violations went to extraordinary lengths to evade our oversight mechanisms.” It also acknowledged that the Taiwanese firm had already fired the manager who oversaw the student worker program.
This was not the first time Apple was involved in labor issues. The company spent years chastising its partners for refusing to provide humane working conditions to employees, following employee suicides at Apple’s main partner Foxconn in 2010. Eighteen Foxconn workers jumped off the factory roof to their deaths in protest of their working conditions, with 14 of them dying.
Two years later, 150 Foxconn employees planned to follow suit but were dissuaded from doing so. Instead of actually improving the working conditions to curtail further suicide attempts, Foxconn installed nets to catch workers who wanted to jump off the roof. (Related: If you buy Apple products, you may want to see this undercover video exposing inhumane slave labor in China: $1.85 per hour with 72-hour work weeks.)
Even worse, Apple makes use of literal slave labor to assemble iPhones through Foxconn’s employment of Uighur prisoners as workers. The Uighurs who work in these factories, such as Foxconn’s facility in the central city of Zhengzhou, are shuttled from prison camps in Xinjiang to work and receive “patriotic education” and forced Mandarin classes after working hours.
Foxconn and Pegatron are just two of many partners that Apple relies on for assembling its different technology products, such as the iPhone. Pegatron being put on probation, however, will likely not affect Apple’s manufacturing capacity in China.
Instead, it is seen as opening up an opportunity for other companies, such as mainland Chinese company Luxshare Precision Industry Co., to step up and become potential manufacturing partners for Apple.
Jeff Pu, an analyst at Chinese capital market company GF Securities, said: “Pegatron’s current iPhone business should not be affected. However, it is likely that Pegatron will lose some orders for Apple’s new handsets next year to Luxshare, which is poised to become a new iPhone assembler in 2021.”
Read more about labor violations involved in the assembly of Apple iPhones at TechGiants.news.
Tagged Under: Tags: Apple, badtech, code of conduct, Foxconn, global supply chain, human rights, inhumane working conditions, iPhone, iPhone assembly, Kunshan, labor camps, labor issues, Pegatron, Shanghai, slave labor, student worker program, student workers, tech news, Uighur workers, worker suicides, working conditions
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