On December 19th, around 9:00 am Beijing time, about 400-500 dispatch workers from Pegatron Shanghai, a subsidiary of Apple supplier Pegatron Corp., gathered at the No.5 gate of the factory to protest. The workers repeatedly chanted “Pay the workers, sweatshop! Pay us promised bonuses! Pay us owed wages!” and encouraged each other “Don’t be afraid”.
On December 18, workers at Pegatron Kunshan’s factory also protested because they did not receive their promised bonuses and wages.
Today, workers protested at both Pegatron Shanghai and Pegatron Kunshan.
At around 10:15, physical clashes happened between a large number of police and the workers who were protesting and defending their rights at Pegatron Shanghai. Angry workers shouted “The police are beating people.” A witness at the scene said he saw workers were taken away by the police.
Most of these dispatch workers started working for Pegatron before October. When they entered the factory, labor dispatch agencies promised workers they would receive a bonus of approximately 10,000 RMB after working for 55 days, but after the workers had worked in the factory for 55 days, they still did not receive the promised bonuses. Workers from Pegatron Kunshan and Shanghai held separate protests. In addition, to receive their promised bonuses, a worker must be currently employed and once a worker resigns, they can’t receive their owed wages.
Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, said that withholding promised wages to force workers to stay in the factory is a form of forced labor. Pegatron has also violated China’s labor law as dispatch workers make up more than 10% of the factory’s total number of employees.
After the large protest in November led by dispatch workers who produced iPads and the Watch for Apple at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China Labor Watch believes that the protests by Pegatron workers once again demonstrates the failure of Apple’s audit system.