Sales of the iPhone 6 have reached record highs. At the Jabil Circuit factory in Wuxi, China (hereafter “Jabil Wuxi” or “Jabil”), which supplies iPhone 6 covers to Apple, pressure has increased on workers to turn out more and more phone covers to meet demand, laboring mandatorily for 11 hours per day, six to seven days a week, under unsafe and high pressure working conditions. Yet even after accumulating up to 158 hours of overtime per month, Jabil workers will earn less than the local average wage.
One year ago, CLW published a report on this same factory, Jabil Wuxi, when the company was producing the iPhone 5. CLW’s investigation exposed a great number of labor abuses at Jabil Wuxi, including hiring discrimination, hiring fees, a lack of safety training, 110 hours of overtime per month, mandatory overtime, a lack of effective grievance channels, and more.
Based on CLW’s 2014 investigative findings, however, little has changed. In fact, some violations are new or worse than those uncovered in 2013. Jabil workers are made to perform even more overtime (up to 158 hours), working in buildings that are still under construction, ceiling slabs falling down around the production line, and they are not permitted to talk or even look up from their work.
CLW’s Jabil investigation has shown yet again that over a year’s time, there has been practically no improvement in the conditions of workers at an Apple supplier factory and a complete lack of implementation of Apple’s promised labor conditions—not to mention Chinese labor laws. All commitments seem to be particularly irrelevant to Apple and its suppliers when Apple is releasing new products.
With such findings, we must question the credibility of Apple’s code of conduct and its public promises with regards to labor standards. Apple is continually improving its products, but the labor conditions of workers making those products have failed to see any improvement.