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
67 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
67 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
67 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
67 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
67 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
67 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)

Top Stories

apple watch 6s 202009

Bloomberg: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Thinner Screen Bezels, Faster Processor, and Updated Ultra Wideband Tech

Monday June 14, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 7 is likely to have thinner display bezels and use a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is planning to refresh the line this year -- with a model likely dubbed the Apple Watch Series 7 -- by adding a faster processor,...
m1 imac back

Some M1 iMac Models Shipping With Crooked Mountings

Monday June 14, 2021 12:50 pm PDT by
Some M1 iMacs appear to have a manufacturing defect that causes the display to be mounted on the stand in a way that's not perfectly aligned, leading to a crooked display. YouTuber iPhonedo over the weekend published a review of the M1 iMac, and he found that his machine appeared to be tilted on one side, a mounting disparity that was visibly noticeable and proved with a ruler. Another...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
apple new iphone case colors

Apple Releases New Sunflower, Cloud Blue and Electric Orange iPhone 12 Cases

Monday June 14, 2021 11:12 am PDT by
Apple today released silicone iPhone cases for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini in a series of new colors that include sunflower, cloud blue, and electric orange. Sunflower is a bright yellow shade, cloud blue is a soft, light blue, and electric orange is a bright orange that's darker than the kumquat color and more orange than pink citrus. The new cases are priced starting...
ipad iphone duo ios 12

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 Security Fix for Older iPhones and iPads

Monday June 14, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released new iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates, with the new software aimed at older devices that are unable to run the iOS 14 update that's available on modern devices. The iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software...
files app ipados 15

iPadOS 15: Files App Gains NTFS Support, Progress Indicator, and More

Tuesday June 15, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
Apple in iPadOS 15 has added the ability to access NTFS-formatted media from within the Files app. The additional support for the Windows-related format, first discovered by YouTuber Steven Fjordstrøm, is read-only, so like on macOS you can't modify files stored on NTFS devices, but you can at least copy any data on them for working on elsewhere on your iPad. The Files app has also gotten a...
maxresdefault

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sideloading Apps Would 'Destroy the Security' of the iPhone

Wednesday June 16, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning participated in a virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, which is described as Europe's biggest startup and tech event. Cook was interviewed by Guillaume Lacroix, CEO and founder of Brut, a media company that creates short-form video content. Much of the discussion centered on privacy, as it often does in interviews that Cook participates in. He...
maxresdefault

Demo: Check Out AirPlay 2 on a Mac in macOS Monterey

Tuesday June 15, 2021 11:57 am PDT by
With macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced expanded AirPlay 2 support, so you can AirPlay content from an iPhone, iPad, or even another Mac to your main Mac. We thought we'd do a quick demo of this handy new feature in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. With AirPlay to Mac, you can extend or mirror an Apple device's display to a Mac, and since ...
nomad airtag wallet card 2

Nomad's Latest Accessory Makes It Easier to Put an AirTag in Your Wallet

Monday June 14, 2021 12:00 pm PDT by
Nomad, known for its range of accessories designed for Apple devices, today announced the Card for AirTag, which is designed to make it easier for an AirTag to fit inside a wallet for tracking purposes. With Card for AirTag, an AirTag fits inside the middle of a card-shaped holder that's then meant to fit inside of a wallet. According to Nomad, the design offers a smooth, uniform shape that...