BBC investigation finds continued poor working conditions at Apple plant in China


The BBC launched an investigation into a Pegatron plant that Apple uses to manufacturer its products in China, and found poor treatment of workers, after Apple has stated several times that it’s cleaned up its act.

The British media giant found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories. It even recorded workers falling asleep on the production line after a 12-hour shift.

BBC plans to air its investigation on its BBC Panorama program, on December 18 at 21:00 GMT. Apple responded to the claims, saying: “We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions. We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done.”

The BBC used undercover reporters to find issues within the supply chain. One reporter found the longest shift worked to be 16 hours, and at the end just wanted to sleep – not even wanting to get up and eat. Another worker had to work 18 days in a row without a day off, even with requests for days of rest.

However, Apple says it found supply chain employees work 55-hours per week on average. The Cupertino-based company has an entire “Supplier Responsibility” page highlighting its efforts.

Apple has been under fire for the practices within its supply chain after 14 workers committed suicide within its biggest supplier, Foxconn, during 2010. Furthermore, an award winning expose by the New York Times revealed harmful work practices within the supply chain that produces iPhone, iPads, Macs, and more.

The BBC program also travelled further down Apple’s supply chain to the Indonesian island of Bangka, where it found children miners touching tin ore out by hand in extremely dangerous conditions.