Report critical of Apple's new Chinese partner

July 29, 2013 at 1:52 PM
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SHANGHAI, July 29 (UPI) -- A report from China says Apple Inc.'s new manufacturing partner, Pegatron, treats workers similarly to the plant, Foxconn, which shocked many people.

Pegatron's workforce in a company facility in eastern Shanghai includes 100,000 workers who receive a starting wage of $1.60 per hour, including $2.40 per hour for overtime, a report from China Labor Watch says.

There are more than 10,000 student workers in the facility, including 16-year-old workers labeled "interns," who are frequently ordered to work at the plant with part of their pay docked for "transportation and registration fees," the report says.

Der Spiegel Online reported Monday the report was based on more than 200 interviews with Pegatron workers conducted by CLW undercover agents.

Some workers now employed building iPads and iPhones work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are required to attend meetings before and after their shifts for which they are not paid, but which extend a day for some from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

They are also not paid for lunch hours or breaks, the report says.

Apple received sharp criticism for working with Foxconn, another huge Chinese manufacturing company, where harsh conditions, long hours, overcrowded living quarters, the lack of privacy were among the reasons often cited for a spate of suicides at the plant that brought conditions there to the attention of the world.

Apple has tried to distance itself from Foxconn, in part by signing on Pegatron, Der Spiegel reported.

But Apple may have simply moved sideways, said one CLW undercover agent, who did not want to be identified.

"Pegatron is in the process of repeating many of the mistakes that Foxconn made. Why would it be any different when factories with more than 10,000 employees are expanding ten-fold?" the agent said.

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