Apple Investigating China Report of Illegal Student Labor Used to Assemble Apple Watches
In a report last week, Hong Kong labor rights group said Quanta was "using significant numbers of student workers aged 16-19 years" to assemble the Apple Watch.
Court Battle, Trade War And 5G Spell Tough 2019 For Apple in China (image: Reuters)
According to a recent report from human rights group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), Quanta Computer, the company tasked to meet the enormous demand for the Apple Watch, used underaged workers in its factories illegally. In a report last week, Hong Kong labor rights group said Quanta was "using significant numbers of student workers aged 16-19 years" to assemble the Apple Watch, under working conditions that do not comply with Chinese regulations. They worked under the guise of "internships", SACOM said, a practice rights groups say is widespread in China as manufacturers pair up with vocational schools to supply workers and fill labor shortages.
The human rights group spoke with 28 students, who said they were pressured to take the “internships” by their teachers who were told that ”they would not graduate on time” if they didn’t take the job. Upon arriving to the factory, however, the students found that they were performing the same jobs as other assembly line workers.
Apple has reportedly opened an investigation into the claims. The company lays down strict criteria for its suppliers, which naturally includes the requirement to comply with employment laws.
The allegations highlight the challenges faced by Apple (AAPL), the world's most valuable company, in monitoring its extensive global supply chains. Last year, Apple supplier Foxconn was discovered to be using student workers for more than 11 hours per day. While the overtime work was allegedly not forced on the teenage workers, they were still working beyond the 40 hours per week limit imposed by Chinese law.
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