The news is occasionally scattered with reports of working condition violations by Foxxconn, the leading Chinese manufacturing conglomerate. New claims have recently emerged at another supplier that exceeds anything ever levied against Foxxconn.  Pegatron, a notable Apple supplier is being criticized over workers’ rights violations and environmental mismanagement. The China Labor Watch group provided a report that included 86 labor rights violations, including underage labor, excessive working hours, health and safety concerns, and environmental pollution. Pegatron’s RiTeng and AVY facilities were found disposing waste water into the sewage system and polluting the local waterways.

A frequent user of both Foxconn and Pegatron is Apple, and the latest allegations against Pegatron are increasing scrutiny of the Cupertino powerhouse’s supply chain. China Labor Watch’s Executive Director, Li Qiang said in a statement, “Apple has not lived up to its own standards. This will lead to Apple's suppliers abusing labor to strengthen their position for receiving orders. In this way, Apple is worsening conditions for workers, not improving them."

Apple published a Supplier Responsibility Progress Report earlier this year and it was an industry leading exercise in transparent reporting, detailing each of the company’s hundreds of suppliers. The report also admitted that 150 of its suppliers had failed to comply with the correct protocols for managing hazardous materials in addition to labor rights violations. As a result of the audit, Apple is now working with numerous suppliers to improve their performance on these, and other important metrics, and ensure they are compliant with its code of conduct. 

"Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain," a spokesperson for the company said. "We lead the industry with far-reaching and specialized audits, the most transparent reporting and educational programs that enrich the lives of workers who make our products ... As a part of our extensive Supplier Responsibility program, Apple has conducted 15 comprehensive audits at Pegatron facilities since 2007, covering more than 130,000 workers making Apple products including annual audits of Pegatron's final assembly locations and surprise audits at both RiTeng and AVY within the past 18 months."

Jason Cheng, Chief executive of Pegatron, said that the firm would take immediate steps to investigate the allegations.

First it was Foxxconn and now it’s Pegatron, maybe Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree after all.

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Micky Le

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