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China Rights Group Alleges Violations of Apple Supplier Standards

Atheer – External Sources

The conditions described in a report by advocacy group China Labor Watch (CLW), have revealed that workers at a Catcher Technology Co. manufacturing complex are forced to stand for up to ten hours per day slicing and blasting iPhone casings for Apple Inc, handling noxious chemicals, often without proper gloves or masks.

According to Bloomberg, in other cases goggles and earplugs are not always available, meaning that workers have to endure being sprayed with tiny metallic particles, the noise created by which is as much as eight decibels. Once they are off duty, these workers then return to debris-strewn dorms bereft of showers or hot water.

Apple spent years upbraiding manufacturers after a rash of suicides at its main partner, Foxconn Technology Group, in 2010 provoked outrage over the harsh working environments in which its upscale gadgets were being made. Apple began developing standards and starting audits of the hundreds of companies that produce components for its devices, threatening to pull business from those who flout labour laws. The sheer scale of Apple’s supply chain, as well as less quantifiable variables such as living standards and sanitation, has however meant that enforcing such standards is difficult.
An Apple spokeswoman said that the company has its own employees at Catcher facilities, but sent an additional team to audit the complex upon hearing about the CLW report, who found no evidence of such violations.
“We know our work is never done and we investigate each and every allegation that’s made. We remain dedicated to doing all that we can to protect the workers in our supply chain,” the Apple spokeswoman added.
In a probe spanning roughly three months, involving an undercover investigator and interviews with around fifty workers, CLW said that it found significant issues with occupational health and safety, pollution and work schedules at the complex.
The advocacy group alleged that wages for resigning workers are not settled the day they quit, something CLW confirmed that Catcher is legally required to do in China. Hiring agencies sometimes refuse to let contract employees quit, withholding their full salaries if they insist on leaving.

It’s the second critique in less than two months involving a major Apple supplier. Late last year, Apple said that it had discovered interns at a factory operated by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., part of Foxconn, to be working illegal overtime on iPhone X assembly lines.


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