Apple supplier Pegatron accused of bad working conditions, report inadvertently confirms existence of plastic iPhone model

By on July 29, 2013, 11:30 AM
apple, foxconn, pegatron, working conditions, china labor watch

One of Apple's suppliers, the Taiwan-based Pegatron, has come under fire over working conditions at their factories employing around 70,000 workers. The US-based group that checks on a range of factories in China and neighboring countries, China Labor Watch, says that conditions at Pegatron's factories are "even worse" than at Foxconn, another of Apple's suppliers that has been in trouble for worker conditions in the past.

The group's investigation into the conditions at Pegatron has revealed 86 labor rights violations, split into 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations. They allege a huge range of misconduct on the part of Pegatron, ranging from underage labor, poor living and working conditions, and excessive working hours, to health and safety concerns, abuse by management and various forms of discrimination.

It also claims that Apple doesn't respond to claims of worker abuse with the same urgency it applies to losses in product quality. This is compounded by reports that workers are working around 67 hours per week on average, above Apple's rule of just 60 hours per week and in violation of China's 49-hour work week rule.

In response to the report, Apple claims they have audited Pegatron facilities 15 times in the last six years, including a few surprise audits in the last 18 months. Both Apple and Pegatron say they will investigate the claims brought to light in the China Labor Watch report (PDF), which are "new" to them, and Pegatron refuted claims that employees are working above the maximum legal amount of work per week.

While Foxconn remains a primary manufacturing partner for Apple, the Cupertino-based firm shifted some production to Pegatron for devices such as the iPad mini. With a surge in orders, Pegatron had to add around 20,000 workers to its force to cope with the added strain. These added workers may have caused worker conditions to drop off significantly in factories, so hopefully Apple will deal with the claims swiftly and thorougly.

Aside from putting Apple and its manufacturing partners under the spotlight once again over worker conditions, a journal entry from one undercover investigator working on the assembly line appears to confirm the existence of Cupertino's long-rumored cheaper iPhone model. Here's the relevant portion:

Today's work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple.

The task is pretty easy, and I was able to work independently after a five-minute instruction from a veteran employee. It took around a minute to paste protective film on one rear cover. The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important. This makes our job more slow-paced than in departments that have begun mass production schedules.

The news follow leaked images of a plastic packaging "iPhone 5C" posted on a Chinese discussion board over the weekend. It's unclear at this point what the naming stands for, and if a more affordable iPhone indeed makes it to market, whether it'll be released globally or to certain emerging markets only.




User Comments: 10

Got something to say? Post a comment
MilwaukeeMike said:

In other news, Apple's quarterly numbers are in and they made $6.9 billion in profit last quarter. That's $214,027,777.78 every 67 hours.... if you're keeping track.

Renrew Renrew said:

Which BTW is a 24% decrease from the same quarter last year.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Which BTW is a 24% decrease from the same quarter last year.

Probably no correlation between falling profits and the manufacturer increasing workers hours and shortcutting industrial waste disposal...just coincidental.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Plastic cheap iPhones.... the end is nigh.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

This is nothing new. All major corporations couldn't care less about anything or anyone. The only thing that matters is themselves and making money. They only appear to be concerned, nothing else.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Plastic cheap iPhones.... the end is nigh.

Far from it. It's a good move on their part.

OliTheG OliTheG said:

Plastic cheap iPhones.... the end is nigh.

I just find it hilarious.

[link]

33 USD to make the case for an iPhone 5 being sold at a profit margin of about 400%

So what will it be, 31?

Fact of the matter, is that Apple already makes an extortionate amount of money for a poorly built product, and they could very easily drop 150 USD off the price and still be a ripoff.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Far from it. It's a good move on their part.

Apple became popular when Jobs returned. He told people they had to have the latest Apple tech, because everything is perfect and the best. 3.5inch screen is the best. One button is the best. iPod is the best. iPad is the best because who-knows-why.

The problem with that is, everyone believed it. ..And the problem with that is, Apple got themselves in a rut. In a tech world, something can be 'the best' (even if it was a lie) for at most a year. The product needs to change and adapt to remain relevant.

iPhone 5, iPad mini, cheap iPhone. These all go against the entire mentality of the Apple lifestyle and are confirmation that everything said beforehand was a lie. The customers are being lied to, and they don't like that - see share prices and iPhone v Android numbers post the 5 and mini drop.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Apple became popular when Jobs returned. He told people they had to have the latest Apple tech, because everything is perfect and the best. 3.5inch screen is the best. One button is the best. iPod is the best. iPad is the best because who-knows-why.

The problem with that is, everyone believed it. ..And the problem with that is, Apple got themselves in a rut. In a tech world, something can be 'the best' (even if it was a lie) for at most a year. The product needs to change and adapt to remain relevant.

iPhone 5, iPad mini, cheap iPhone. These all go against the entire mentality of the Apple lifestyle and are confirmation that everything said beforehand was a lie. The customers are being lied to, and they don't like that - see share prices and iPhone v Android numbers post the 5 and mini drop.

It'a changing world and Apple has to change with it. Apple products are far too expensive for what they offer and not everybody in the world has the money to waste on them. In fact Apple is not that obtuse not to realise that the vast majority of the world population fall into the lower/middle income bracket so by introducing a lower end phone to the world is a good move on their part. By covering all income sectors with their products they are able to sell a lot more devices. This is the way Samsung and others roll and soon Apple will be left for dead and not competing with them directly would be a mistake. Too hell with what Apple fans think about it, it's all about making money in this cut throat business and dog eat dog world of hi-tech. You snooze, you loose. I'm only suprised they didn't do this sooner.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Yup, I see your point, and agree with it totally. However, this is not the image Apple buyers bought into.

Every single device is become more and more 'posh'. Gone is the plastic disgusting bulgy iPhone 3G, here is the new all-alum iPhone/iTouch. Gone is plastic Mac, hello unibody Macs.

The only difference to this is the iPod lineup with their colours. However, they still retain the 'posh' aesthetic, only changing colours very slightly (nothing too extravagant).

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