It’s being reported today that Apple has launched an investigation into its supply chain after a workers’ rights group alleged that one of its suppliers was illegally employing students in China to make Apple Watches, according to a new Financial Times report.
The report noted that “The Silicon Valley giant opened the probe last week, after SACOM, a Hong Kong-based human rights group, alleged that Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese Apple supplier, has been illegally employing students to assemble Apple Watches in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
Sacom said it had interviewed 28 high school students at the Quanta Computer factory in Chongqing this summer. The students said they were sent to the factory by their teachers for ‘internships,’ but performed the same jobs as other assembly line workers and often worked overtime and night shifts, both of which are illegal for student interns under Chinese law.
The allegations raise fresh questions about how Apple manages its supply chain at a time when factories in China are finding it difficult to attract young workers. Apple publishes a list of suppliers each year, in a bid to highlight its rigorous monitoring of its manufacturing partners.
The alleged abuses echo the labor violations uncovered last year in Apple’s iPhone supply chain at its Foxconn Zhengzhou factory, where both Apple and Foxconn acknowledged that student interns had illegally worked overtime.
SACOM said it had unearthed similar labor abuses at Quanta Chongqing in the production of Apple Watches in an earlier investigation. At the time, Apple denied Quanta’s Chongqing plant was a part of its supply chain.” For more on this, read the full Financial Times report here. At present, FT is offering 4 weeks access to their content for only $1.00.
Apple and Foxconn are common targets of SACOM as a graphic from their website shown below indicates. The website covers testimony after testimony about life at Foxconn and their lousy wages making Apple’s iPhone, in particular.
The Full SACOM Report
SACOM = Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior