A new BBC investigation brings to the notice below par working conditions, including lack of employee protection measures, at Apple’s Pegatron factories in China. The overseas production factory has been accused of forcing workers to do 16-hour work shifts a day, without adequate compensation. One undercover agent reported that many workers were seen dozing off on the production line because of unduly long shifts.
However, Apple believes that napping is a very common practice for workers. The tech giant also claimed that its internal investigations concerning more than one million workers found 11-hour shifts or average 55-hour work week at Pegatron.
Contrary to Apple’s claims, BBC also found sub-par standards for ID cards, work meetings, dormitories and underage workers. In addition, the report also highlights the use of materials acquired in illegal mines.
Moreover, one undercover reporter was required to attend unpaid meetings before and after excessive work hours. Another one was required to stay in a dormitory shared by 12 workers in a small room.
An Apple spokesman also told the BBC that the company is doing its best to ensure fair and safe working conditions. He also reminded that Apple works with suppliers to address shortfalls and ensure overseas factories follow code and we see continuous improvement. Apple also noted to have resolved the issue of dormitory overcrowding.
Poor working conditions raise more debate given the fact that 14 workers at Apple factories killed themselves in 2010. Apple continues to chant the mantra that it is committed to improving the situation aimed at driving ground-level changes. The company also published a set of standards on fair treatment of factory workers, following the suicides. However, the undercover reporters found routine breach of these standards on the factory floor.
Pegatron is currently investigating the claims and ensured all necessary actions to fill the gaps at its facilities.