Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another Apple factory in China exposed for worker abuse

New abuses by an Apple Chinese supplier are coming to light by a group called Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM). SACOM first exposed how Apple's contractor Foxconn forced hundreds of thousands of employees to labor under grueling conditions, causing a wave of suicides.

Ross Eisenbery at the Economic Policy Institute tells us:
SACOM has regularly revealed Apple’s failure to abide by its so-called code of conduct, and along with another watchdog group, China Labor Watch, has monitored Apple’s failure to live up to its announced intention to clean up sweatshop conditions at its factories in China and to stop the use of indentured student labor. 
In April, China Labor Watch reported that two more Apple/Foxconn workers had committed suicide by jumping from buildings to their death. China Labor Watch also found labor law violations at ten other Apple suppliers, including Pegatron.
SACOM's most recent investigation reveals horrific labor conditions inside Biel Crystal in Huizhou, Guangdong. The factory produces the touch screens and camera glass covers that go into Iphones. Here's what SACOM found:
  • Excessive working hours: Workers are forced to sign an “application for voluntary overtime”. They have to work 11 hours a day and seven days a week during the peak production time; and they have only a 24-hour break at the end of each month for shift change;
  • Numerous suicides in the factory: At least five incidences of suicide have taken place in the factory since 2011;
  • Blank work contract: Workers are asked to sign a blank work contract, and they have to turn in their copy when they resign. This makes workers unable to prove their working relation with the factory;
  • Serious work injuries: Work injuries are common in the factory, and injured workers cannot get reasonable compensation as entitled by the Law;
  • Irregular pay day: The factory changes the pay day at will and does not follow clauses and conditions of the work contract;
  • Military-style management: The punitive system is unfair and there is massive use of security to control workers’ activities.
SACOM demands Biel Crystal allow workers to form their own union, to enroll them in the social security system, to pay a living wage and to spell out clearly terms of employment before workers sign it.

SACOM also puts responsibility on Apple to pressure Biel Crystal to clean up its act.

Read the whole report here.