Labor Watchdogs Bark At Apple Over Unsafe Working Conditions In China

Just days before Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone model, two U.S. watchdogs have come out and jointly criticized the Cupertino outfit for allowing "a number" of health and safety violations to take place at a second-tier supplier factory in China that builds parts for the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

China Labor Watch (CLW) and Green America, a pair of non-profit organizations in the U.S., claims that an investigation into a Chinese factory called Catcher Technology found numerous violations, such as inadequate personal protective equipment for handling toxic materials. The organizations say that some workers had their skin exposed directly to toxins, such as those from metal cutting fluids, and that there are no ventilator masks.

Sleeping Worker
Image Source: China Labor Watch

"The investigation of Catcher Technology raises serious concerns around working conditions in Apple’s second-tier supplier factories," stated Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director for Green America. "We knew that we needed to make this information public to encourage Apple to take immediate next steps in addressing toxins and unsafe working conditions in their factories as Apple continues to ramp up production of the iPhone 6."

CLW says its investigation uncovered more than 20 legal and ethical violations at the Catcher factory. Some of these include mandatory overtime, laboring on feet for more than 10 hours per day and six days per week, student workers (16-18 years old) employed in the same positions as adults for 10+ hours per day, dumping of industrial fluids and waste into groundwater and nearby rivers, locked safety exits, unpaid wages adding up to $290,000, and the list goes on.

You can read the full 25-page report (PDF) online.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Annette Bernhardt)