clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

'Low-priced plastic iPhone' revealed by China Labor Watch report

New, 234 comments
apple iphone logo stock 1020
apple iphone logo stock 1020

Earlier today, China Labor Watch released a report accusing Taiwan-based Pegatron Group — one of Apple's main suppliers — of committing labor abuses at three of its factories. The report, which was gathered between March and July of this year, listed off at least 86 labor rights violations, including forced long hours, withholding of pay, and safety and environmental issues. "Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories," CLW executive director Li Qiang said in a statement. "Apple has not lived up to its own standards." Apple has since responded with a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal which reiterated its commitment to "safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain." The company also said that it has conducted 15 "comprehensive" audits at Pegatron factories since 2007, including some in the past 18 months.

The report contained accounts of undercover workers who took part in a "normal" day at the Pegatron facilities, and within those details was information about some forthcoming Apple products. In particular, it sounds like the Pegatron factories are the site of the oft-rumored, low-cost plastic iPhone that Apple is expected to introduce later this year alongside a new iPhone 5S. In the report's description of the Pegatron factory, it notes that it assembles products including "Phone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and low-priced plastic iPhones."

In the details of a worker's typical day at Pegatron, one undercover employee gave the following description: "Today's work is to paste protective film on the iPhone's plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assembly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple." The report's executive summary gets even more in-depth. "At this moment, in Shanghai, China, workers in Apple's supplier factory Pegatron are monotonously working long overtime hours to turn out a scaled-back, less expensive version of the iPhone," it claims. Plans could still change, and this report shouldn't be taken as gospel in regards to future Apple products, but it's another piece of evidence that points to a new entry into the iPhone category.

Previously on The Verge: Apple stands by worker rights record after supplier accused of violations