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. …

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Re: Supply and Demand

If you say in effect "we have policies to ensure decent working conditions for employees in our supply chain", then it's perfectly reasonable for people to hold you to that standard and flag up if that's not happening. Apple's position in response to this programme seems to be that they know the standard isn't being met, but things would be worse if they weren't trying. Well, fair enough, but if you can't ensure they're met then don't trumpet your wonderful ethical policies, just work quietly to get there first. Other manufacturers are doubtless in the same boat, but they're not making grandiose claims and thus exposing themselves to accusations of hypocrisy.

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Re: Supply and Demand

@ Credas / @ Bloodbeastterror

Honestly peeps I was unaware that Apple "trumpet [their] wonderful ethical policies". If they make such a 'thing' about it then yes, I agree, they should be able to publicly put that to the test. (the only Apple (Macintosh) products that I own are over 30 years old and still work as intended).

I am just reasonably sure that almost every imported product is made at the expense of workers conditions and pay. Therefore I consume as little 'new' product as possible, make what I do have last as long as possible, recycle as much as possible and look for pre-owned alternatives to the latest shiny-shiny if indeed I really 'must' replace something and have a very, very, stern talk with myself about the merits of opening my wallet in any case. So I admit I am probably not representative of the general all-consuming populace, sadly.

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Easy target

Apple's an easy and lazy target, because they do make some effort to be transparent. Full lists of suppliers on their web site, published standards and summaries of audits etc. But Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Asustek and others are a larger proportion of Pegatron's output. But it has to be said that Apple's business model (10 million of a new model delivered to end users within a couple of weeks of the unveiling) places tremendous strain on suppliers during the first few weeks of production. At least the workers were being allowed to sleep!

Now give a moment's thought to the people in the supply chain for your christmas lights, and all the other disposable crud you buy with tin in it.

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Anonymous Coward

The real crime is that one year, Tim Cook took away more loot, that ALL the foxconn/pegatron workers that built the istuff got paid.

However you frame it, thats simply obscene.

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WTF?

Apple employ Pegatron et al to manufacture their products, Pegatron employ the labour, therefore it is Pegatron and, by extension, the Chinese govt who are directly responsible for working conditions, not Apple.

Furthermore, a metric shit ton of other companies use Pegatron's facilities, where was the criticism of them? At least Apple publicly and transparently acknowledge their part in the whole process and make efforts to improve the worker's lot, and do a demonstrably damn sight more than others.

Perhaps if first world countries hadn't pissed away their manufacturing expertise and capacity, focussing instead on dubious "financial services" (I'm looking at you in particular, neoliberal Britain), we might not have jejune and didactic journalism of this sorry calibre.

Expecting the inevitable downvotes in 3...2...1...

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I upvoted you !! I'm all for 75 hr weeks if it buys the groceries.

These neoliberals don't understand 3rd world economics where your 13yr old sewing footballs buys a roof over the family's heads.

I'm off to France, which is an economic basket-case because no one works more than 35 Hrs.

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Headmaster

Units, dear boy...

"Furthermore, a metric shit ton "

No, no , no; "Furthermore, a metric shit tonne".

You're welcome.

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Re: Units, dear boy...

I always thought it was a metric fucktonne, actually. Is this like an ounce and a Troy ounce?

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France...no one works more than 35 hours

35 might be an exaggeration. I've worked in Paris offices where I've waited in vain for people to come back from lunch on a friday. But I have to say that the French workforce is one of the happiest (and productive!) I have worked with.

Just where does it say we should be subordinate to tbe time clock and bloody miserable to boot?

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Pegatron is a Taiwanese company

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This post has been deleted by its author

God bless us, every one!

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless those Chinese kids working 20 hours a day so I can have my kit cheaper....or is it so that Apple can mark up 200 per cent instead of 185?

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Re: God bless us, every one!

@Mike Shepherd; That's the rub, isn't it? Apple, along with other 'premium' brands, have seen production costs plummet as they've sought cheaper and cheaper labour markets, and what they've generally done with those cost savings is increase profits and dividends.

I'm pretty sure Globalisation wasn't supposed to be like that. Globalisation was sold to us as an opportunity to level the plying field by creating a global market, yet all it seems to have achieved is a workforce who can never hope to own even one of the products they produce, while the West produces less and less, while continuing to consume more and more of this tat.

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Re: God bless us, every one!

You mean . . I . . what . . wait . . that we were mis sold Globalization as well! It's as if we now find ourselves top dog - atop a pile of crumbling social needs, low pay, misery and economic seizure.

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Re: God bless us, every one!

Slightly strange. Chinese manufacturing wages have gone from $1,000 a year in 2000 AD to $6,500 a year in 2014 AD.

6.5x the wages in under 15 years is a pretty good result from globalisation isn't it?

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Re: God bless us, every one!

@Tim Worstal

Not all but very many workers in China continue to be dawn to the cities for work because of economic allure, but the majority of those leave children, wives/husbands behind, sometimes many hundreds of miles away. Whilst the wages appear reasonable, when compared to subsistence farming, leaving the kids with grand parents who struggle with the burden, and not seeing them for 6-months at a time, is not an easy thing to bear. If you are young and single it's fine, but what sort of housing could you expect if starting a young family in the city - have you seen what's happened to property prices in big urban/city areas over the past 10-15 years.

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Re: God bless us, every one!

Add to that the fact that if you do travel some 900 miles for work and you come from the 'wrong' region/ethnic group, you can come up against some pretty nasty discrimination that can leave you further out of pocket and generally make life rather difficult all round. Such matters aren't, of course, the sole preserve of China and it's economics.

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@ Tim Worstall Re: God bless us, every one!

The point I was trying to make, in my own inarticulate way, is tha $6,500 a year for someone living in a city, paying rent, buying food, paying bus or train fares, buying clothes and having a little to send home is not exactly a king's ransom when compared with a subsistence (plus a little surplus to sell) farmer who will generally get most of his food from the sweat of his hands, without having to purchase it, will generally not travel far from the farm, engages in barter for life's (very) little luxuries, and so on.

Plus I think my original point remains. How many assembly workers earning $6,500 a year can afford the products they are assembling? When I contracted (NEVER use the word 'worked' or they expect results) at BMW's factory back in the 80s, my Triumph Spitfire was the only non Beamer in the employee carpark (it was also the only car that needed regular bump starts from groups of sneering teutonic carworkers at knocking off time, but that's a whole other issue)

Oh, and $6,500 a year is still cheaper than building stuff in their target markets.

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Apple are evil...

and so are many others.

Apparently Tim Cook was 'hurt'. Good. Stop running the company like the late unlamented Steve 'sociopath' Jobs, and run it ethically.

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The point surely are...

1. Apple boast of their ethical manufacturing thus deserve to be judged against such standards.

2. Apple unlike many tech companies make huge profits on their hardware, they could afford to reinvest these in setting up ethical manufacturing companies, I believe the cash reserves apple are sitting on exceed the GDP of many of these countries they source from, yet they choose not to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The point surely are...

"1. Apple boast of their ethical manufacturing thus deserve to be judged against such standards."

I'm sure Apple hasn't said anything that isn't technically, factually accurate about the employees in their supply chains. Other than just being honest, if they did, it would open them up to lawsuits. So if you're reading something into their statements that they're not saying, that's your fault, isn't it?

"2. Apple unlike many tech companies make huge profits on their hardware, they could afford to reinvest these in setting up ethical manufacturing companies, ..."

Give me a break, it's not Dearborn in 1922 where Ford could assemble a car end-to-end in one location from local trees and whatnot, and we're not talking about final assembly necessarily. One of the issues at hand is apparently a tin mine in Indonesia. Do you really think Apple should start its own tin mine?

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Surely it would have made sense for the show...

...to compare and contrast what happens in these factories for people building Apple equipment with Samsung equipment, and HTC equipment, and Xiaomi equipment?

That way, we'd be able to judge better whether the Apple policies were making things "better" (a value judgement) for those workers assigned to Apple production compared to those assigned to other vendors.

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...REFUTED...?

I am pretty sure you meant "DENIED"...

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