Apple is facing more criticism for conditions in the Chinese factories of its suppliers as an undercover investigation claims to have discovered an array of "ethical and legal labour violations".
A report published this week by not-for-profit organisation China Labor Watch (CLW) alleges that workers involved in the assembly of the soon-to-be-released cheaper iPhone face hiring discrimination and illegal and immoral working conditions. The report's publication follows an undercover investigation into practices at a factory run by US-based manufacturer Jabil Circuit in Wuxi in western China.
The CLW report claims that staff at the facility are owed "millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages", with employees required to put in as many as 100 additional hours a month – three times the legal limit on mandatory overtime. Investigators also claim to have found workers required to stand for more than 11 hours a day, "with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks".
The facility is also accused of illegally discriminating against potential employees on the basis of factors including age and physical appearance. CLW alleges that the "perfunctory" and "illegally inadequate" training for new staff is only two hours and features no information on safety, even for workers whose job involves dangerous chemicals and other perils. Workers also reportedly sleep in dormitories of eight people and have "a lack of effective grievance channels".
The full report features a litany of other accusations of violations of the rights of workers who sleep in dormitories of eight people.
A press release from CLW states: "In order to meet high production quotas for iPhone covers, Jabil workers have to violate Jabil's own standard operating procedures, and management tacitly consents to the violations."
Both Apple and Jabil have indicated that they will investigate the report's claims.
In recent years the Mac maker has come under scrutiny for the conditions at the Chinese factories that produce its wares. Last year the vendor ordered an investigation into the working environment of Foxconn factories, following reports that more than 100 staff of the electronics giant had threatened to commit suicide. The company had earlier come under fire after reports in 2010 of a spate of staff suicides.
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