China Labor Watch blasts working conditions at Shanghai plant where iPhones are made

A new report from China Labor Watch, a labor rights watchdog and advocacy organization, blasts Apple for not improving working conditions for Chinese workers who make iPhones. After investigating a plant in Shanghai, China, which is owned by the Taiwanese Pegatron Group, CLW reports the following:

“Young production workers toil six days a week in 12-hour shifts. Each day they are paid for 10 and half hours of work, not counting 15 minutes of unpaid meetings. The mandatory overtime shift runs from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm. Most workers will not eat dinner before doing overtime because the 30-break given for a meal is not enough time.

“Before overtime pay, workers making the iPhone earn only the local minimum wage of $318 per month, or about $1.85 per hour. This is not a living wage. Even if the factory did not mandate overtime as it does, workers would still depend on their 60-hour workweeks to get by.

“Despite providing only about eight hours of pre-job safety training—where Chinese law requires 24 hours—Pegatron forces each new worker to sign a form that ‘certifies’ that she has undergone 20 hours of safety training. A worker also must sign a trainer’s name on the form. The factory has workers quickly copy answers to the safety information quiz. These falsified forms are the types of documentation that are provided to Apple in their audits.

“The production of an iPhone involves a great number of chemicals. Pegatron gives new workers an information sheet that contains a short list of toxic substances, including cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and arsenic.2 Yet no one tells workers anything about the location of these or other substances in the production process or how a person should protect herself from injury.”

Apple hasn’t commented on the report (yet). However, it was reported in February that the company had forced its suppliers to end a form of “bonded labor” that saddled assembly line workers with unnecessary hiring fees, and put them in debt to third-party recruiters. The requirement went into effect starting this year, the company said in its latest supplier responsibility report ( The report examines the labor conditions at factories that produce Apple products.

"Around the globe, Apple employees are united in bringing equality, respect for human rights, and protection of the environment to the deepest levels of our supply chain," Jeff Williams, senior vice president of Operations, says in the supplier responsibility report. "While we have made significant progress, gaps still exist, and there is more work to do. We know that workers are counting on us. We will not stop until every person in our supply chain is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve."