Apple’s supply chain for the iPhone and other devices has been suffering as sales have slid over the past year. Worse yet, as Apple continues to demand lower prices for more labor and more products, we see companies trying to push back on the giant.
It’s still not enough for the people toiling at the factories, though, according to advocacy group China Labor Watch.
CLW talked with employees inside parts supplier Pegatron and found hazardous working conditions, poor management of about 100,000 workers and cover-ups that have helped the company pass Apple’s welfare inspection. Conditions have deteriorated as CLW gathered paystubs and accounts from 2015 into this year.
At Pegatron’s Shanghai complex, the company raised wages in accordance with local law, but made its workforce take on welfare cuts and insurance deductions. An hourly wage of $1.85 went up to $2 in actual terms, but actually fell to $1.60 post-deductions. Overtime is rampant, mismanaged and has led to student interns working more than regulations allow for and one employee garnering 293 hours of work in a month. Add to that a security regimen that cuts break time and paid time and denials of leave, and everything falls apart.
Monthly wages have fallen since March. As the minimum wage went up in April and May, real monthly income fell thanks to those deductions. On average, maintenance department workers made $615.50 in March, $486.68 in April and $474.08 in May. 2,015 were analyzed dating back as far as May 2015.
China Labor Watch’s report blames not only Pegatron for skirting safety and wage laws, but Apple also for dedicating only $11.3 billion or 4.8 percent of its total revenue last year to buying products made by some 1.6 million Chinese laborers.
Apple has responded to previous reports from CLW, assuring the public that it investigates problems and makes sure every supply chain worker gets treated right, but it seems that inaction has spoken louder than words.