Apple Inc. has been actively relocating its manufacturing centres to regions with lower costs since 2010. This shift has been growing even faster in recent years due to the improvement of working conditions in coastal China. This investigative report aims to examine whether Apple is complying with its own Suppliers Responsibility Standards and local laws while establishing relationships with new manufacturers in these less developed regions.

This report discloses the abuses of student interns found in Quanta Computer, Apple Watch’s exclusive manufacturer. Relevant sections of Apple’s “Supplier Responsibility Standards” and China’s “Administrative Provisions of Internships for Vocational School Students” are quoted in comparison with the reality of student interns’ working conditions in the factory. Our major findings are:

1. Irrelevant Majors: Majors of the student interns interviewed are totally irrelevant to electronics (such as fashion design, hotel management, accounting, and early education). Students are sent to the factory only in order to fulfill its need for labour.
2. Absence of educational elements: Students work as ordinary production line workers without any extra training or learning materials. They learn nothing from the “internship”.
3. Forced labour: Students reported that they cannot graduate without completing the internship. Some also reported that their dining and accommodation subsidies would be cut if they refused to do the work assigned to them. Students have no choice because they face negative consequences if they refuse the internship.
4. Unlawful shift arrangement: It is very common for student interns at Quanta to work 12 hours a day and over-night shifts that violate the Provisions.
5. Unlawful Recruitment: The factory is illegally using labour recruitment agencies and collecting deposit from student interns.

Based on these violations of the rights of student interns, we demand Apple to make improvements immediately. Our demands to Apple Inc. are as follows:

SACOM’s Demands to Apple
1. Strictly apply the Supplier Responsibility Standards to all affiliated manufacturers worldwide;
2. Guarantee that all manufacturers comply with local labour laws and regulations;
3. Actively Provide Sufficient Protection to all student workers in it supply chain including:
• Stop recruiting student workers with unrelated majors
• Provide real vocational training to student workers
• Stop assigning student workers to work overtime and night shifts, which are both illegal
• Stop using for-profit labour recruitment agencies to recruit and manage student workers
4. Record the findings of this report in Apple’s next Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Progress Report;
5. Organize a meeting involving SACOM, Apple and Quanta to establish a timetable for rectifying Quanta’s violation of its employees’ labour rights.

For full English report, please download here: 2017-Apple-Watch-3-Exploit-Student-Workers-Further

http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-Biel-Crystal-Re-visiting-Report_SACOM.pdf