One more of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s suppliers has come under scrutiny for violating workers' rights. This time it’s Biel Crystal Manufactory, which supplies iPhone screens. The supplier has been accused of violating workers' rights within its Chinese factories.
According to a report from the Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), the supplier mistreats the workers in numerous ways including 11-hour shifts with only a day off each month.
Below par safety standards
A worker from the Quality Check department told SACOM that Biel has big orders from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. There is no peak or non-peak season at the factory and “Almost every month is a peak season, and we just work and work.” The worker revealed that from Mondays to Fridays they have to work three hours extra, and “we work another two full days (meaning 11 hours per day) on Saturdays and Sundays.” Also, there are no breaks until the workers change duty at the end of each month.
The Hong Kong-based rights group, SACOM, also questions the safety standards followed at Biel Crystal. The report claims that workers are denied compensation despite getting injured in the workplace. Also, workers are fined for failing to meet production targets, falling asleep or breaking glass.
The rights group also claims that workers are have to sign a blank contract, which must be handed in when workers resign. Such arrangement means absence of any tie between employee and employer, preventing the company from any future lawsuit.
According to report, in the company’s Guangdong factory in China, which is one of two in mainland China, at least five people have committed suicide in the last three years.
Apple taking measures to prevent such incidents
In reply to the report, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) issued a statement to Reuters, saying that it always insists its suppliers ensure safe working conditions, “treat workers with dignity and respect,” and follow “environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.” The iPhone maker further said that every year it inspects more factories, “going deeper into the supply chain and raising the bar for our suppliers.” In 2012, the iPhone maker inspected 393 facilities around the globe.
According to Biel Crystal’s website, the Apple supplier employs over 600 workers in two factories; in Guangdong and Shenzhen.