17 December 2013

On 25 November, SACOM released an investigative report focused on the labour condition in Hong Kong-owned Apple supplier – Biel Crystal’s Huizhou factory. The research discovered numerous labour abuses and violation of Chinese Labour Law.

On 29 November, SACOM held a meeting with Mr. K.M. Yeung, President of Biel Crystal and expressed our discontent with the labour abuses and appalling working conditions in Biel Crystal factory. In the meeting, Yeung pledged to take the following actions to labour malpractices before January 2014:

1. Clear work contracts for workers including details of terms of contract, terms of probation, position, affiliated department and will not ask workers to turn in the contract when work relation ends;

2. Compensation and assistance for injured workers in accordance with the Regulation on Work related injury insurance and adequate measures to protect workers from work injury;

3. One day off in every seven working days.

SACOM regards this as the first step of Biel Crystal’s commitment to improve labour basic condition in the factory and expect Biel Crystal to keep its promise and gradually improve labour condition. SACOM will keep monitoring its labour condition.

Biel Crystal, which started its business by producing glasses for watches, is one of the biggest suppliers of the world’s touchscreen cover glasses. It shares 60% of the total world’s supply. Biel Crystal supplies 60% of the total Apple products’ cover glasses as well as 20% of the total of Samsung products and for many other brands. After the release of the report, SACOM made an official complaint to Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and request them to urge Apple to improve the labour condition of its suppliers’ factories. We also sent our report to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics directly.

Samsung Electronics replied through a letter on 29 November and it confirmed its business cooperation with Biel Crystal and promised to contact with Biel Crystal directly on this issue. However, Apple Inc. did not respond to SACOM’s inquiry only after the meeting between SACOM and Biel Crystal, saying they “are happy you (SACOM) are directly engaging with our suppliers on issues that come to your attention and appreciate being kept informed”. There is no evidence to show that Apple Inc. is going to take any concrete action to intervene the malpractices of its suppliers and to bear its corporate social responsibility.

SACOM urges Apple Inc. to take its corporate social responsibility and to provide all necessary assistance and resources to Biel Crystal for improvement of the labour condition in its factories as soon as possible.

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour

pdf version: SACOM – Statement – Biel Crystals pledge – 20131217