back to article Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Apple has refuted claims made by the BBC’s Panorama programme that it is not working hard enough to protect the rights of workers. The programme Apple's Broken Promises claimed that Pegatron - a contractor making the iPhone 6 - was abusing rules on working hours, keeping workers' ID cards, and using underage workers. …

xyz

Maybe it's just me but....

...I don't see Apple reaching for their laywers already, so I can only presume, err... cont Page 94.

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Anonymous Coward

Being attacked by Panorama is like being savaged by the proverbial dead sheep.

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I think Apple's Safari coders...

...are probably removing the default BBC bookmark right about now.

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Anonymous Coward

Q: what is Apple's new motto?

A: Sleep Different

Q: How & where does Tim Cook sleep?

A: Very well thank you in a big comfy bed

If the truth hurts, it must be Apple!

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If the BBC had any more stones left, they'd investigate HTC, Google, Nokia and Crackberry as well. If Apple's setting an example, gawd forbid what these 4 are up to!!!

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Can't speak for the others but Nokia always had an excellent rep in the ethical and human rights communities. Whether this has endured under Microsoft's stewardship remains to be seen.

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where are all those other hard hitting docs..

you know the ones on the pedophile ring at a well known broadcaster, Rotherham, super long hours at the NHS...always so easy to point that finger and conveniently ignore the four pointing back in the other direction.

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Anonymous Coward

The BBC coverage is annoying. It's completely normal for people to sleep at their desks, a lot of people have a sleeping pillow for such a purpose.

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my tenure at ITV

was constantly interrupted by falling asleep

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Which Apple store to you work in?

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I agree, I worked for a while in an office in Shenzhen that worked on middleware development and some people had camp beds set up at their desk over lunch time. Compared to a UK office staying at your desk over lunch was more like staying in a dormitory.

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Go

Hairy and purple shoots of recovery?

Could the BBC actually be starting to grow them back?

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Get it right!

They haven't "refuted" the accusations, they've DENIED them.

There's a big difference and if you don't know what it is (which seems to be standard for journalists) I suggest you find an old-fashioned thing called a "dictionary" and look the word up.

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Re: Get it right!

Concise Oxford Dictionary:

"2. to deny (a statement or accusation)".

The COD goes on to point out that "traditionalists object to the second use, but it is now widely accepted in standard English".

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Headmaster

Re: Get it right!

Not in my Concise Oxford Dictionary it doesn't!

But then being a "traditionalist" myself, I have a fifty-year-old edition........

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Thumb Up

@Tony Green - Re: Get it right!

Hear hear!

I was just about to post pointing out that "Rejected" and "Refuted" are NOT the same thing, but lazy journos don't seem to understand that.

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Re: Get it right!

The use of 'refute' to _apparently_ mean 'deny' is (it seems to me) a recent change in language that has been popularised by politicians, who have been loudly 'refuting' accusations for many years. They do this so that if the accusations are proved to be true then they can always say, truthfully, that they never denied it. People have been too lazy to look the word up to establish its meaning and so this incorrect use propogates. Politicians may not be smart, but they're smarter than the average person and they're full of feral cunning.

(A similar thing happened with the word 'obviate', where people said things like, " this new gadget obviates the need to .....". If you know what the word 'obviate' means, then you'll realise what is wrong with that.)

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Headmaster

Re: Get it right!

But then being a "traditionalist" myself, I have a fifty-year-old edition........

Gadzooks! Where, prithee, did thou procure this?

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Silver badge

Re: Get it right!

Procurest, shirley? <g>

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Headmaster

Re: "Gadzooks!" I don't normally do the grammer nazi routine but this one............

.............I cannot resist.

"Where, prithee, didst thou procure this?"

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Re: "Gadzooks!" I don't normally do the grammer nazi routine but this one............

Upvoted for the correction, but downvoted (in principle) because I love people making corrections who themselves make mistakes - and I'm gobsmacked that nobody else has commented, since the Vulture community is usually on this sort of thing like rabid hyenas... :-)

"Grammer"...? Jimmy Edwards would surely have you bent over a chair for that one... (for the cane... oh, er, missus, stop tittering...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Get it right!

Concise Oxford Dictionary?

Na, Urban Dictionarys where its at, init:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Denied

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It's nice....

....to see someone holding Apple's feet to the fire, even if it's easy to take a pot shot at the biggest target around. Imagine if they'd found a large tech corporation without an activist policy to reduce and monitor labour abuses in its supply chain.

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93% compliance? Really doesn't sound very impressive.

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It looks better if you read the preceding letter in the email, which states that most people were usually working over 60 hours, and many working 70 hours a week, before Apple put pressure on the companies. So working time has gone down substantially in the last years.

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Anonymous Coward

Are they paid hourly?

That's a 16% pay cut. Now remind me, how long is the line at the hiring desk?

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it is not, they said "a million people in its supply chain, finding that 93 per cent of the instances were compliant."

that means 7% were not compliant, which is 70,000 people were not compliant, that is a hell of a lot!

imho, even 60hours is too long a working week for anyone doing physical labour, especially anything repetitive, like assembling phones etc...

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In other words...

"Apple has undertaken to enforce a 60-hour maximum working week and claims that it has tracked the weekly hours of a million people in its supply chain, finding that 93 per cent of the instances were compliant"

Translation: "Approximately 70,000 people in our supply chain are working at least 60 hours a week to our knowledge"

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Anonymous Coward

In other words...

Translation: "Approximately 930,000 people in our supply chain are working 60 hours a week or less to our knowledge."

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Re: In other words...

Pff, that'll never get headlines....

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Apple gets the pip

So since the BBC has "unmasked" Apple as not an ethical employer, should we expect all the trendy BBC staff to eschew their Macs, iPads and iPhones either as a matter of corporate policy or simply as individual choices made on humanitarian grounds?

Or is it more likely that there is a wide gap between the principles and standards promoted in an investigative entertainment programme and the reality of what should not get between right-on media luvvies and their status symbols.

Who fancies organising a mass iBurning outside Media City? It might even make the ITV news.

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Re: Apple gets the pip

Not an Apple fan. But presumably one of the reasons to buy pricey Cupertino merchandise is to be certain the employees are working in good conditions. And there's no one else who offers these guarantees.

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Re: Apple gets the pip

Seriously? You're really suggesting that all those fanbois give a rat's ass about where their iToy came from? If they were genuinely concerned about that then they would buy a Fairphone. But they don't. All that matters to them is that they have a shiny gadget to hug.

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Silver badge

Re: Apple gets the pip

"And there's no one else who offers these guarantees."

Nobody else offers them, and Apple doesn't follow them. See article.

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Anonymous Coward

As someone that's been in pegatron

Apple really are scumbags, and anyone buying their products are directly responsible for slave labour.

Merry Xmas Apple owners.

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Re: As someone that's been in pegatron

Comment posted from your FairTrade ethical PC? Oh no, it can't have been, since your comment actually exists.

Anonymous Hypocrite

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Re: As someone that's been in pegatron

I seem to think QI (ok, not a great source) noted that 30% of US household appliances are made by prisoners who have no rights to reject the work.

US Justice: It's just commerce.

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Anonymous Coward

iPhones by iSlaves

Somehow I doubt it's just Apples products being manufactured in those kind of conditions. But if contracts are specified to continually squeeze costs, do they really expect their suppliers to pay generously and act ethically?

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Anonymous Coward

What will Rory do now...

...that he will be in such hallowed company as yourselves, and be forced to extort Apple information from other sources, and left off all the invite lists? :)

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Re: What will Rory do now...

Get all his iStuff news from Stephen Fry, obviously. What could possibly go wrong?

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Re: What will Rory do now...

Well his latest article is on Microsoft's skype translation thing and shows him using a Surface...

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Silver badge

Just Apple?

I doubt it.

I am sure all major consumer doodad manufacturers insist, and publicly so, that the most stringent policies for employee welfare are enforced.

It is easier for the western consumer to buy the doodad if he or she feels no furry animals were hurt in it's manufacture.

The same company will of course also insist that the unit price of the doodad makes adherence to that policy financially impossible for the manufacturer.

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Re: Just Apple?

That's the thing about corporate public statements. Generally they overuse words like 'endeavour to ensure' or 'make all reasonable attemps to . .' and so on. Anyone remember J.J. Harriman (I think!) in The Man Who Sold The Moon? He greatly admired the postal service's terms and conditions because the one thing they never promised to do was deliver a letter, any letter. Instead they promised to TRY to deliver a letter by whatever means they could (such as carrier pigeon or putting it in a bottle and floating it down the river), but that they were in no way liable if no letters ever got delivered.

On the subject of Apple though, I think the issue is not that they are no better than their competitors when it comes to worker welfare, but that they made such a bloody song and dance about how much they cared and how they had thwarted the will of the evil factory owners, and it turns out they give no bigger a shit than all the other tech companies about how their stuff gets made so cheaply.

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Re: Just Apple?

"they never promised to do was deliver a letter"

...and in the real world, british train operators, probably in line with all transport operators, pretty much only ever guarentee to sell you a ticket. Whether you ever get to your destination is another matter entirely.

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b@John Brown re:sell you a ticket

Why do you think they call us 'customers' these days rather than the rather too promisory 'passengers'?

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Re: Just Apple?

Oh, you'll get there all right. Probably by bus that you will have to wait an inordinate amount of time for!

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Happy

Apple should pop down to Ha Noi ...

where Samsung makes Note 4's. And now they are building a second plant.

Vietnamese workers can strike, form unions, demonstrate and the VN Labour Code is very definitive (and superior to the US labour 'standards'). There are national pension and health plans, too.

Come to think of it, may be the benefits are why Apple is NOT in VN!

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Silver badge

Re: Apple should pop down to Ha Noi ...

Ah but the conditions in Vietnam, as in South Korea itself, are steeped in the filthy communist idea that a worker deserves a fair rate of pay for his labour and the even more insidious notion that, just because a person runs the factory or owns the company is no reason they should get100-200 times the shop floor rate.

Cue the downvotes from entrepeneurs and upper managers everywhere (but mostly, I suspect, in merka)

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xyz

Samsung issue a statement...

pmsl

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Meh

Supply and Demand

T'was ever thus. I would have paid more attention to this if the Beeb had taken a swipe at working conditions for a plethora of tech/gadget manufacturers. Perhaps they could have approached it from the 'Demand' and 'Desire' angle and placed more emphasis on the habits / actions of consumers in the West. The majority of what we import / consume is made under pretty awful conditions for the workers at the sharp end, be it clothing, foot wear or technology. I realize that Apple apparently make something of an ethical approach to workers conditions etc. Well, good luck with that, it isn't going to be easy. Exploitation goes all the way down the slippery slope of the supply chain. If you happen to be at the bottom of that chain you are hit hardest because you have nowhere to move.

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Re: Supply and Demand

Surely the point is that Apple have put themselves up as people of good will (as always, appearance before substance) and therefore they deserve to be targeted when they fail so egregiously to meet their own trumpeted standards? I agree with you and other posters that the same may happen in other manufacturers' plants, but they don't shout about how well they look after their staff.

If you make boasts, be prepared to stand behind them and not play the usual Apple card of "We're too good to talk to you people". They had their chance to put their case on the programme, and they refused. They should suck it up and put their efforts into cleaning up their act to match their publicity machine instead of whining about how unfair the BBC is.

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