After our friends at the mighty ‘Beeb’, commonly known as the BBC, produced a rather chilling report on Apple’s workforce; Tim Cook has come out and declared his offence at the matter.
Recently, the BBC broadcast a report on how Apple treats workforce, aired on its popular news/current affairs documentary programme – Panorama. Following allegations of poor practices in the industry, Apple supposedly cleaned up its act.
CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is said to be ‘deeply offended’ at the report made by the BBC over fresh allegations that Apple fails to protect workers and uphold conditions within its Chinese supply chains. The BBC uncovered malpractice and exploitation at the Pegatron factory, which was handed contracts after failures at the renowned Foxconn.
Reporters discovered workers on 12 hour shifts regularly falling asleep on the production line and workers racking up over 60 hours a week on their rota. Undercover journalists also had their ID cards confiscated upon arrival at the firm, which is illegal in China; as the state demands everyone always carries ID. Health and safety tests were seen as complete fakes, with answers shouted out by examiners; and those who did not agree to work standing or nights were told they wouldn’t be hired. Lastly, overcrowding was also shown to be a chronic problem.
Apple has moved quickly to deny the allegations made by the BBC. It posted an internal memo to all UK staff, in which it proclaims the allegations could not “be further from the truth.” Acquired by the Telegraph paper, Apple SVP of operations Jeff Williams writes to all employees in the UK to try and remedy the damage caused:
“Tim [Cook] and I were deeply offended” it says.
It goes on to conclude that:
“no other company [is] doing as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions, to discover and investigate problems, to fix and follow through when issues arise, and to provide transparency into the operations of our suppliers.”
Apple insisted that its own managers regularly visit the factories to oversee production and that it had implemented extensive guidance to solve any issues. It admits that the cases the BBC published were worrying, and that it would investigate all concerns. However, it stands by its promise to improve working conditions and says it is doing so with its guidelines. It just seems that suppliers don’t seem too enthused with more paper work, and hence bending the rules to get around them is common.
It isn’t a quick fix. And Apple isn’t the only culprit.