Apple vendors hired child workers: Audit

By : |February 28, 2010 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Can you imagine that the iPhone that you adore has the sweat of a child laborer in it? Or is it that the phone has been assembled by an employee who has been denied of the basic labour rights when it comes to wages, working hours and weekly off?

Sorry, this is no follow up of Naomi Klein’s celebrated book ‘No Logo’, which exposes the dark secrets of the working environments in the factories of many big brands. Nor is this the expose by any investigative journalist. The hard truths were revealed by Apple itself, which conducted an onsite audit of its 102 facilities recently.

“Apple discovered three facilities that had previously hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum age for employment is 16. Across the three facilities, our auditors found records of 11 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age, although the workers were no longer underage or no longer in active employment at the time of our audit,” the report said.

Though Apple did not disclose the three locations, the report said that inspectors visited facilities in China, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.

The audit also found that more than 60 facilities were also making their employees overwork. According to Apple the supplier should not make the employees work more than 60 hours a week, and should also provide “at least one day a rest per seven days of work”.

“At each facility we audit, we examine multiple records across shifts and production lines. At 60 facilities, we found records that indicated workers had exceeded weekly work-hour limits more than 50 per cent of the time. Similarly, at 65 facilities, more than half of the records we reviewed indicated that workers had worked more than six consecutive days at least once per month,” the report said.

It also said at 48 of the facilities audited, overtime wages had been calculated improperly, resulting in underpayment of overtime wages.

“At 24 facilities, our auditors found that workers had been paid less than minimum wage for regular working hours. In most of these cases, the facility’s pay structure for regular hours depended on attendance-related bonuses to meet minimum wage requirements; without these bonuses, there was no guarantee that the minimum wage would be met. We also found 15 facilities where the facility’s pay structure was unnecessarily complex and could result in underpayment of wages.”

Beyond that, Apple’s audit found two dozen facilities that were paying their people less than the minimum required wage and another 57 that were cheating workers out of legally required benefits – things like sick time and maternity leave. Some factories even cut workers’ wages for "disciplinary purposes," according to Apple’s report.

The audit said it has identified 17 core violations: eight violations involving excessive recruitment fees; three cases where underage workers had been hired; three cases where our supplier contracted with non-certified vendors for hazardous waste disposal; and three cases of falsified records provided during the audit.

So is it high time for a sequel to ‘No Logo’? Big brothers may not like it for sure!

No Comments so fars

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.