Jul 31, 2013

Tibet: Apple Supplier Violates Minorities Labour Rights


[email protected]

China Labour Watch, a US-based human rights group accused Chinese factories that produce Apple items of indulging in discriminatory hiring practices against ethnic minorities, including Tibetans.

Below is an article published by Phayul:

The US based China Labour Watch published an investigative report detailing the labor violations of three factories of Pegatron Group, a major supplier to Apple. Investigations revealed at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations.

The group accused Pegatron of "discriminatory hiring practices" including refusing to hire members of China's so called ethnic minorities including Huis, Tibetans, or Uighurs.

It also said managers screened out job applicants who were pregnant or older than 35, and rushed through safety training.

Pegatron assembles products including the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 for Apple, according to the report.

China Labor Watch said it sent undercover investigators to factories in Shanghai and one in Suzhou, a nearby city, that employ a total of 70,000 people and conducted nearly 200 worker interviews between March and July this year [2013].

The group said the majority of Pegatron production employees worked 66 to 69 hours a week, far above China's legal limit of 49 hours. It said pregnant women sometimes were required to work 11-hour days, more than the eight-hour legal limit, and employees were pressured to falsify time cards to conceal the violations.

The report noted that "many workers" were under 18, some of them interns from vocational schools.

The group found violations including discrimination against women, excessive work hours, poor living conditions, health and safety problems and pollution.

UK based Free Tibet in a release on Monday [29 July 2013] noted that although ethnic discrimination in employment practices theoretically violates Chinese employment law, in practice, Tibetans have reported that they are frequently the victims of many forms of discrimination, both within Chinese-occupied Tibet and when living, travelling or seeking employment in China.

Free Tibet translated a photograph provided in the report of a Pegatron recruitment poster, specifying their employment criteria. The group confirmed that with regard to the “nationality” of employees, the poster states:

“Hui, Sala, Yi, Tibetan, Uighur etc. who have unique lifestyles and customs will not be accepted.”

“There is ample evidence that Tibetans face continuous and systematic discrimination in China regardless of theoretical legal protections,” Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said. “Any company operating in China, partnering with Chinese businesses or using Chinese suppliers needs to accept its responsibility for ensuring the rights of Tibetans and other employees are respected.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said in a statement it was "committed to providing safe and fair working conditions" and would investigate the claims about Pegatron. The Taiwanese company's chief executive, in a separate statement, also promised to investigate.