Does Apple Employ Minors, Impose Excessive Overtime on Workers in China?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Three factories in China where Apple products are made allegedly employ underage workers and force employees to work nearly 70 hours a week, according to a watchdog report.

The U.S.-based group China Labor Watch reported that three factories run by Pegatron Group are in violation of the guidelines set forth by Apple.

The Apple website says they will not use underage labor and that overtime is voluntary and capped at 60 hours per week. China Labor Watch found 70,000 employees at the factories average 66, 67 and 69 hours per week.

Overtime was imposed upon worker, when they were particularly busy. The report said workers at one site were told if they refused the overtime, they would not get to volunteer for extra work for the rest of the month.

Apple audited Pegatron, a Taiwanese company, 15 times since 2007. Apple said in a statement the average work week at the facilities was 46 hours last month.

“We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to uncover problems and improve conditions for workers,” Apple said in a statement. “Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain.”

It is unclear how many underage workers were found in the factories, but the report said some were interns from vocational schools.

The report also claimed workers are housed in crowded dormitories where 12 people are crammed into one room. There are not enough fire exits to accommodate the tenants, who are fined for minor infractions like “failing to tuck in one’s chair after eating.”

Apple’s manufacturing conditions in China have come under scrutiny in recent years. In 2010, 13 workers for one of its suppliers, Foxconn, committed suicide.

Sources: Raw Story, Fox News