Chinese Labor Group Alleges Major Labor Violations at Apple iPhone 5C Supplier Jabil Circuit [Update: Apple to Investigate]
Chinese labor rights group China Labor Watch (CLW) has released a report (via The Next Web) bringing forth allegations of major labor abuses at a Chinese factory belonging to Jabil Circuit, a U.S.-based supplier to Apple. Specifically, the workers rights group accuses the company of numerous labor and wage violations, including millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages, over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, hiring discrimination, and excessive standing work.
Additionally, the report states that the factory is currently producing Apple's lower-cost iPhone 5C as these alleged labor violations have been taking place, a device which should be unveiled next Tuesday.
A new undercover investigation by China Labor Watch (CLW) has revealed a series of ethical and legal labor violations in a factory in Wuxi, China owned by U.S. electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit that is currently producing the soon-to-be-released cheap iPhone for Apple.
Among the infringements uncovered by CLW include millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages; over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, three times in excess of legal limits; more than 11 hours of standing work every day with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks; illegally inadequate pre-work training; hiring discrimination; and more.
Many of the violations raised in CLW’s report also contradict the codes of conduct of both Apple and Jabil Circuit. Despite half a decade of outside investigations and self-reporting on myriad labor abuse throughout its Chinese supply chain, Apple has continually failed to compel supplier factories to conform to Apple’s code of conduct and local labor laws before giving these suppliers Apple production orders.
Last month, the group also alleged poor working conditions at primary Apple supplier Pegatron, stating specific violations such as the unethical holding of worker pay as well as poor living conditions. Apple announced in July that it was forming an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program, saying that it wanted to ensure “safe and ethical working conditions wherever its products are made.” Apple has also published Supplier Responsibility Progress Reports every year since 2007, tracking the ethical progress of its suppliers in order to bring transparency to its product manufacturing process.
Update: Apple issued this statement to AllThingsD, saying the company takes "any concerns about [its] suppliers very seriously":
Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain. We lead the industry with far-reaching and specialized audits, the most transparent reporting and educational programs that enrich the lives of workers who make our products. Apple is the first and only technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, and we are dedicated to protecting every worker in our supply chain.
As part of our extensive Supplier Responsibility program, Apple has conducted 14 comprehensive audits at Jabil facilities since 2008, including three audits of Jabil Wuxi in the past 36 months. We take any concerns about our suppliers very seriously, and our team of experts is on-site at Jabil Wuxi to look into the new claims about conditions there. Jabil has a proactive auditing program of their own and they have an excellent track record of meeting Apple’s high standards.
Employees at Jabil are among the 1 million workers in Apple’s supply chain whose working hours we track each week and report on our website. Year to date, Jabil Wuxi has performed above our 92% average for compliance with Apple’s 60-hour per week limit. An audit completed earlier this year did find that some employees had worked more than six consecutive days without a day of rest, and Jabil has been working with our team to better manage overtime.
We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to improve conditions for workers. Our program goes far beyond monitoring by ensuring corrective actions where they are needed and aggressively enforcing our supplier code of conduct wherever Apple products are made. We believe in transparency and accountability, both for our suppliers and ourselves.