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Business

Apple faces labor violation dispute over iPhone supplier Pegatron

A Chinese human rights watchdog has maintained that consumer electronics giant Apple has not lived up to its own business code. It criticized massive labor rights violations at Pegatron firms working for the US company.

On Monday, China Labor Watch accused a company making iPhones for Apple of abuses including withholding employees' pay and excessive working hours. The watchdog announced that it had found infringements of the law and of Apple's pledges about working conditions at factories operated by Taiwan's Pegatron.

Conditions in Chinese factories had already been under scrutiny after complaints about violations by a different Apple supplier: Foxconn (pictured).

"Our research shows that working conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than at Foxconn firms," China Labor Watch Director Li Qiang said in a statement.

Investigations pending

CLW announced that its investigations between March and July of this year covered factories in Shanghai and nearby Suzhou, employing a total of 70,000 people. It found violations ranging from discrimination against ethnic minorities and women, health and safety issues and pollution.

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According to the watchdog, the majority of the employees in question worked 66 to 69 hours a week, far above China's legal limit of 49 hours. It also accused Pegatron of discriminatory hiring practices under which managers refused to employ people older than 35 years.

In its initial response, Apple announced that it was committed to providing safe and fair working conditions and would investigate the claims. Pegatron for its part also promised to look into the allegations without delay.

hg/mkg (AP, dpa)

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