US-based non-profit China Labor Watch has just issued a report which finds that three factories making Apple products impose excessive overtime on their workers and employ minors. The advocacy group said on Monday that the plants, run by the Pegatron Group violated Apple’s own standards for workers’ rights. According to the report, 70,000 employees at the three Pegatron sites work an average of 69 hours a week, “many of whom” are minors, while some other workers are interns from vocational schools.
A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen; Foxconn was forced to change its policies after serious labor violations were exposed
Apple has been plagued by issues relating to labor violations in Chinese factories manufacturing their products. As a result, Apple conducts regular inspections of their facilities and states on their website that factories manufacturing their products are not to employ underage labor, while overtime should be on a voluntary bases and there is a 60-hour workweek maximum.
China Labor Watch, however, found a different scenario. Employees at Pegatron factories face mandatory overtime during busy periods, and those who refuse are barred from any voluntary overtime for a month. The report also states that employees live in dormitories that are overcrowded and inappropriately equipped, with insufficient fire escape exits.
Pegatron facilities were audited by Apple 15 times since 2007 and the company reported last month that the workweek averaged 46 hours. Apple has stated that they will investigate China Labor Watch’s most recent claims.