Today, Apple opens its flagship store at the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong. Despite Apple is the world’s most valuable brand, rampant labour rights violations are always found at its suppliers, including Foxconn and Wintek. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) staged a protest to mark the opening of the Apple Store. Protesters unfolded a 6-meter tall banner to demand Apple to end labour exploitation.
Behind the fascinating Apple products, Apple is accused of rights abuses at its suppliers. In 2009, over 137 workers at Wintek, Suzhou were poisoned by n-hexane. A year later, at least 8 workers at Yun Heng Metal who polished the Apple logos also suffered from n-hexane poisoning. This year, an explosion happened at a Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu, a supplier of the iPad. Three workers were killed and 15 injured.
Regrettably, Apple only admitted the poisoning cases a year after the tragedies. Likewise, Apple has not given any public account of the cause of the explosion. Furthermore, there is no transparency in either company’s process of implementing remedies after the tragedy. SACOM’s action aimed to inform the consumers about the social cost behind Apple products. A Chinese leaflet, The Inconvenient Truth of Apple, was delivered to the consumers outside the Apple Store.
Parallel to the action, a new research report, titled iSlave behind the iPhone: Foxconn Workers in Central China, which documented the deplorable working conditions at an iPhone factory, is released today. The findings reaffirm the failure of Apple in complying with labour standards. During the 1-hour demonstration, Apple ignored the labour rights activists and refused to receive the investigative report. SACOM denounces Apple which puts revenue before labour rights and calls on consumers to stand with the production workers.