Labor rights violation 'common' in Apple's other Chinese suppliers

Inspection of other suppliers finds contraventions rampant and conditions can be "worse" than those at Foxconn, reports watchdog China Labor Watch.

The focus on working conditions at Apple's Chinese supplier has been on Foxconn, but one labor rights watchdog notes labor rights violation is "common" and "rampant" at other factories which manufacture products for Cupertino.

In a statement Thursday, China Labor Watch released the findings of its investigation of 10 factories in China which supply Apple products, including the Foxconn factory. Its study found labor rights violations were still "common" and "rampant" in these factories.

Among the common problems were excessive overtime, long working hours, low wages which drive employees to accept long overtime hours, dangerous working conditions, unsanitary food at factory cafeterias, employees' unfamiliarity with workers' unions, and no social insurance.

Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, said in the report: "The squeezing of factory workers exists throughout Apple's supply chain in China, and not just at Foxconn. Apple has the responsibility, and the financial resources, to ensure that needed improvements for workers occur systematically and quickly."

The report highlighted the Riteng factory for "particularly poor working conditions" which were worse than Foxconn's working environment. For example, Riteng workers work for nearly 12 hours a day while Foxconn workers work for 10 hours a day. Salaries at the former average around 8.2 Chinese yuan (US$1.30), which is below Foxconn's "still-meager" average hourly wage of 10.2 Chinese yuan (US$1.62), it noted.

To date, most of the focus on labor rights conditions has been on Foxconn, Apple's largest supplier. In February, Apple asked the Fair Labor Association to conduct inspections of working conditions at Apple's Foxconn factories. The watchdog found "significant issues" in the three factories which Apple and Foxconn agreed to remedy.

For example, Foxconn had since created new positions to help improve working conditions at its factories supplying Apple. In May, Foxconn CEO Terry Hou said his company and Apple will share the initial costs of improving labor conditions at the factories which assemble Apple products.