April 23, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK – A new China Labor Watch (CLW) investigation revealed major labor rights violations at the Chinese factory manufacturing the Apple Watch, which will be released on April 24. Tomorrow, CLW will protest Apple’s continued failure to uphold its labor rights promises and demand that Apple commit $10 of each product to pay for higher wages for manufacturing workers.
CLW conducted the probe in March and April, sending an undercover investigator into the Quanta Computer factory in Changshu, China, where the Apple Watch is being produced. Published in cooperation with National Enquirer/Radar Online (see release 1 and release 2), investigative findings revealed that despite Apple having a fresh chance to design and manage the supplier chain of a brand new product, it did not prevent serious violations of Chinese labor law and Apple’s own code of conduct.
These rights infringements include illegal hiring fees of up to 800 RMB ($129); illegally excessive use of temp workers; age restrictions for applicants; six-day workweeks of 12 to 16-hour shifts; daily unpaid overtime; perfunctory safety training far below statutory minimums despite contact with of toxic chemicals like ethoxy propanol, n-heptane, and industrial alcohol; insufficient protective equipment; high pressure work environments with verbally abusive management and a silent work policy; locked safety exits and narrow escape routes; eight workers to a dorm room with insufficient facilities; unsanitary environment, with at least a 100 workers sickened by the measles and rubella in recent months; inability to resign with all due wages; early resignation fees from labor dispatch companies; and a lack of effective grievance channels and worker representation.
Such abuses occur on a daily basis despite Apple having numerous of its employees on site at Quanta monitoring production, yet again demonstrating that Apple’s promises to uphold law and high labor standards are little more than false advertisement. It is difficult to believe Apple CEO Tim Cook when he says, “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain.”
In February 2015, Apple published a social responsibility report and garnered headlines over its announcement that “starting in 2015, no worker employed on an Apple line could be charged any recruitment fees.” CLW’s new investigation has shown that even this key promise has turned out to be a farce. Nine out of ten Quanta workers making the Apple Watch are temporary dispatch workers who had to pay fees of up to 800 RMB ($129) in addition to intermediary and medical exam fees in order to get this job.
On April 24 at noon at the 5 Ave and 59 St Apple store in Manhattan, CLW will protest ongoing and widespread labor rights abuse by the most profitable company in the world. In addition to respecting Chinese labor laws, CLW will demand of Apple:
(1) 10 additional dollars of every Apple product sold is used exclusively to pay for higher wages for manufacturing workers;
(2) Insurance and benefits of all workers making Apple products are paid according to local laws.
About China Labor Watch
Founded in 2000, China Labor Watch is an independent not-for-profit organization. For more than a decade, CLW has collaborated with labor organizations and the media to conduct in-depth assessments of factories in China that produce toys, bikes, shoes, furniture, clothing, and electronics for some of the world’s largest brand companies. CLW’s New York office creates reports from these investigations, educates the international community on supply chain labor issues, and pressures corporations to improve conditions for workers.
Program Coordinator, China Labor Watch
Phone: +001 212-244-4049
147 W 35 St Ste 406
New York, NY 10001
Executive Director, China Labor Watch
Phone: +001 212-244-4049