Bloomberg has been granted an exclusive look inside a Chinese iPhone manufacturing plant where Apple claimed it has addressed cases of excessive overtime.

Pegatron Corp.'s sprawling facility on the outskirts of Shanghai covers an area equal to 90 football fields and employs some 50,000 people in the iPhone assembly process.

After accusations that employees were forced to work long, grueling hours there, Pegatron and Apple adopted new procedures to keep iPhone assemblers from amassing excessive overtime. By granting a western journalist access to the facility for the first time, both companies appear eager to show how the system works.

Pegatron campus


In the center of the Pegatron campus is a plaza with a firehouse, police station, and post office. Dotted about are shuttle buses, mega-cafeterias, landscaped lawns, and koi ponds. The grey and brown-hued concrete buildings are meant to evoke traditional Chinese architecture, but the scenes inside them are anything but traditional.

The men and women stare into face scanners and swipe badges at security turnstiles to clock in. The strict ID checks are there to make sure they don't work excessive overtime. The process takes less than two seconds.

After passing through metal detectors to sniff out camera-equipped devices that could be used to leak pictures of unreleased new products, the workers follow arrows on the floor and inspirational posters on the wall. They climb up a stairwell with safety netting draped across the middle, to prevent accidents—or suicide attempts. At a bank of lockers, they don blue hairnets and swap their shoes for clean plastic slip-on slippers. At 9:20 a.m., the 320-worker production unit lines up with military precision in four rows for their roll call.

"Good morning!" they shout in unison under the watchful gaze of the Mayor, who is joined by shift supervisors holding iPads jerry-rigged with black tape. They scan in the workers. Six minutes later, they're on the production floor, assembling smartphones moving past on conveyor belts.

To address accusations of excessive overtime Pegatron adopted the ID system, with badges linked to a database that tracks time, wages and even expenditures on dorm fees and lunch. The Taiwanese company claims the arrangement has helped to push compliance with overtime regulations to almost 100 percent, with only a handful of exceptions stemming from engineers working on emergency repairs.

Pegatron


However, Li Qiang, executive director at labor rights group China Labor Watch (CLW), claims that the ID checks are just for show, "otherwise there wouldn't be so many cases with hundreds of workers putting in excessive overtime hours." CLW claims that base pay remains so low that workers need overtime simply to make ends meet. It said 1,261 pay stubs from Pegatron’s Shanghai facility from September and October 2015 show evidence of excessive overtime.

Pegatron said the group miscounted because that period straddled state holidays, when pay was triple the normal rate. Apple and Pegatron said they were never contacted by CLW, which said it approached Apple but didn't get a response. Since March, the group claims to have collected an additional 441 pay stubs that point to continued excessive overtime. Pegatron said it adheres to the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition's guidelines that cap overtime at roughly 80 hours a month.

In 2013, Pegatron came under fire from CLW after the death of five young workers at its Shanghai facilities, including the passing of a 15-year-old factory worker due to pneumonia-related causes. The boy was able to secure a job at a Pegatron factory by presenting a fake ID stating that he was 20. Apple sent a medical team to the Pegatron facility and determined that the worker's death was not related to working conditions.

The same year, CLW alleged numerous safety and workplace violations at Pegatron, including the unethical holding of worker pay and identification cards, as well as poor living conditions within the factory including tight living quarters and packed cafeterias. Apple replied to the allegations, confirming various labor violations and vowing to investigate the incident.

"The fact they let a reporter in shows that they are responding to external pressure and trying to be more transparent – at least on the surface they're trying to fix something," said Jenny Chan, a lecturer at Oxford's Kellogg College. "But they're still not telling us more about how they run the business, the whole labor system."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
104 months ago
Thank Christ I was born in the country I was. Spending 80 hours a week assembling iPhones for $20 a day that sell for $700 each must be soul-crushing. :(
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
davester Avatar
104 months ago
They all look so tired and forlorn. Like human battery hens

Ps. You didn't align my FaceTime camera correctly.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pez555 Avatar
104 months ago
A real eye opener for those of us lucky enough to have what we have. Puts things into perspective and we should all be thankful!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrGuder Avatar
104 months ago
What you see with the reporter and camera man is a whole different story once the media is out and the door closes.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
appledefenceforce Avatar
104 months ago


Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues ('https://forums.macrumors.com/forums/politics-religion-social-issues.47/') forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: First Look Inside Pegatron's Secretive Shanghai iPhone Assembly Plant ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/25/inside-pegatron-secretive-iphone-assembly-plant/')
So this is "political" now? LOL
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ericgtr12 Avatar
104 months ago
So this is "political" now? LOL
While we can't see the suicide prevention nets in these photos, you can bet it's still an issue that's political in nature. We love our first world devices, unfortunately much of it comes from slave labor that we are willing to turn a blind eye to in order to shave off a millimeter from last years model and upgrade.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, GameCube, Wii,...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
apple vision pro orange

Apple Vision Pro Customer Interest Dying Down at Some Retail Stores

Monday April 22, 2024 2:12 am PDT by
Apple Vision Pro, Apple's $3,500 spatial computing device, appears to be following a pattern familiar to the AR/VR headset industry – initial enthusiasm giving way to a significant dip in sustained interest and usage. Since its debut in the U.S. in February 2024, excitement for the Apple Vision Pro has noticeably cooled, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On...
top stories 20apr2024

Top Stories: Nintendo Emulators on App Store, Two New iOS 17 Features, and More

Saturday April 20, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
It was a big week for retro gaming fans, as iPhone users are starting to reap the rewards of Apple's recent change to allow retro game emulators on the App Store. This week also saw a new iOS 17.5 beta that will support web-based app distribution in the EU, the debut of the first hotels to allow for direct AirPlay streaming to room TVs, a fresh rumor about the impending iPad Air update, and...