Labor group accuses alleged manufacturer of Apple’s budget iPhone of ‘ethical and legal’ violations

Labor group accuses alleged manufacturer of Apple’s budget iPhone of ‘ethical and legal’ ...

China Labor Watch, the organization which criticized Apple supplier Pegatron for “serious” labor rights violations in July, has released a new report accusing a different company, which it says is involved in the production of Apple’s upcoming lower-priced iPhone, of “a series of ethical and legal labor violations.”

The new device — being referred to as the iPhone 5C, and is tipped to be unveiled on September 10 — has not been confirmed let alone released yet, but already CLW claims it is being produced by electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit, which stands accused of a range of violations against its China-based workers:

Among the infringements uncovered by CLW include millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages; over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, three times in excess of legal limits; more than 11 hours of standing work every day with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks; illegally inadequate pre-work training; hiring discrimination; and more.

Jabil is less known than Apple partners in Asia — like Foxconn or Pegatron — and the St. Petersburg, Florida-based company makes cases for iPhone models, including the iPhone 5 which launched last year. CLW claims the violations have occurred at its Wuxi-based factory.

We reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this post with any information that we’re given.

In March, Apple claimed a new high of 99 percent compliance with China’s maximum 60-hour work week throughout its supply chain — although that’s a fact that has been disputed by CLW, which states that 60 hours is a direct violation of China’s 49-hour statutory limit.

Apple has come under immense pressure over the past few years to take more responsibility for its supply chain and the workers therein. A series of safety issues at another major Apple supplier Foxconn — including suicidessafety, working hours and conditions — as well as the case of it taking on interns as young as 14 years old, which is below China’s legal working age of 16 years, have thrust Apple into the limelight for the wrong reasons.

Since an initial wave of criticism in 2011, Apple has kicked up a lot of dust in producing reports and currently maintains a greater level of transparency than most other companies, including those that use Apple suppliers like Foxconn. Last year, Apple also asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to “conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China.”

➤ Fresh labor violations in Chinese factory producing the “cheap” iPhone [China Labor Watch]

Headline image via STR/AFP/Getty Images

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