Apple, Jabil to investigate alleged labor violations at China factory

A labor watchdog has alleged the Apple supplier factory has been exploiting its workers

Apple is investigating a supplier factory in China for alleged labor violations, after a watchdog group claimed the facility had been forcing its employees to work long hours assembling iPhones.

The company has already sent a "team of experts" to look into the claims about the factory in the Chinese city of Wuxi, run by U.S.-based Jabil Circuit, the company said Friday. Jabil has also sent an audit team to the facility, and added that it was "troubled" by the allegations.

On Thursday, China Labor Watch released a report, claiming that workers at the factory were logging more than 100 hours per month in overtime to build plastic cases for a budget iPhone device.

The conditions at the factory appear to contradict Apple's assertion that its suppliers are capping the work week at only 60 hours, said China Labor Watch, which accused Jabil of exploiting its workers.

But on Friday, Apple said Jabil has an "excellent track record" of meeting the company's high standards on work conditions. So far, the facility has 92 percent compliance with Apple's 60-hour work week limit for this year.

"An audit completed earlier this year did find that some employees had worked more than six consecutive days without a day of rest," Apple said. But the factory has been working to better regulate the overtime, Apple added.

In its own statement, Jabil said that it would correct any problems found at the facility, although many of its employees desire the overtime work. Last month, Jabil conducted an audit of the factory, and uncovered some of the violations cited in China Labor Watch's report. Efforts have already begun to correct the problems, Jabil said.

China Labor Watch regularly conducts investigations of Apple supplier factories for labor violations. In July, the group released another report critical of a purported iPhone factory run by Taiwan-based Pegatron for its alleged poor working conditions.

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Tags smartphonesAppleiPhoneenvironmentconsumer electronicsElectronics manufacturingHealth and safetyJabil

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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