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Factory Building iPad Mini Criticized for Working Conditions

By - Source: MacWorld | B 13 comments

Chemical smells, unpaid overtime and constant work allegations against Ri-Teng.

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) has criticized Ri-Teng Computer Accessory, the assembler of the recently announced iPad Mini. SACOM says it has carried out several off-site interviews with workers at Ri-Teng's Shanghai factory. Last December, the facility experienced an explosion within its polishing division which is said to have injured 61 workers.

Ri-Teng's "poor record in workplace safety" is "rooted in the purchasing practice of Apple and in its ineffective monitoring system," SACOM stressed. 

It stated that the workers who were interviewed mentioned an ongoing hazardous working environment at the Shanghai factory. Poor ventilation, dust-filled shops and poor protection from chemicals utilized by machine operators were referred to as the risks workers face. The labor group added that Apple's purported "negligence in enforcing labor rights standards" was "at the root" of the worrying work environment at Ri-Teng's factory.

A 21-year-old worker, surnamed Jiang, stated he's been working every single day for the last three months, without a day off, to assemble the iPad Mini.

A collection of complaints from workers follows:

"The working conditions here are trash, there's no need to bring it up. You can work for overtime for two days, but the company will only pay for one of them."

"The smell is indescribable. It feels like there is smoke in the air."

"I truly, truly regret working at the factory. I had just started working at the factory. I had only been there for over a month."

"To divert the public criticism about Apple's unethical labor practices, the company joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in January 2012. Apparently, Apple seeks to distance itself from the problems at its supplier factories. Nevertheless, Cupertino is not the victim of the scandals at its supplier factories. It is the root problem," SACOM said.

Apple "must raise the unit price and prolong the delivery time [of its products], so workers do not need to have excessive overtime to earn a living," it said. The group also requested Apple to press its China-based suppliers to enable workers to form unions.

SACOM continued on to state that Ri-Teng forces its staff to work excessive overtime schedules, which it doesn't offer any pay for. Other accusations include abusing sub-contractors, cheating on its contribution to workers' pension and health insurance funds, as well as giving student interns priority in terms of manufacturing work instead of training them first.

Another constantly scrutinized Apple supplier, Foxconn, had recently admitted to putting underage interns to work assembling iDevice products.

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  • 14 Hide
    hate machine , October 25, 2012 10:20 PM
    blakphoenixIs it just me or does Toms now have a very strong apple bias? I hardly see any leaked details about windows or android devices but we seem to get 5-6 ridiculous apple headlines a day. If you're desperate to give us apple news then PLEASE consolidate it into ONE post per day Toms, and how about news on the new windows 8 products and new android products? I don't see Apple innovating things like the new Dell XPS 12 or ASUS Thaichi at the moment, to me those things are exciting!


    80% of Apple articles are posted by Zak, they used to all be butt happy articles about Apple but now he seems to be posting a little bit of negative stuff and stuff about competition. It is becoming very annoying now. Honestly wish there was a way to filter out certain articles and writers.
  • 10 Hide
    darkchazz , October 25, 2012 10:05 PM
    and what are we surprised by this?
  • 10 Hide
    blakphoenix , October 25, 2012 10:13 PM
    Is it just me or does Toms now have a very strong apple bias? I hardly see any leaked details about windows or android devices but we seem to get 5-6 ridiculous apple headlines a day. If you're desperate to give us apple news then PLEASE consolidate it into ONE post per day Toms, and how about news on the new windows 8 products and new android products? I don't see Apple innovating things like the new Dell XPS 12 or ASUS Thaichi at the moment, to me those things are exciting!
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    darkchazz , October 25, 2012 10:05 PM
    and what are we surprised by this?
  • 7 Hide
    inerax , October 25, 2012 10:08 PM
    Apple is not using foxconn... Guess I'm not shocked. Bet it cheaper for the worse conditions....
  • 10 Hide
    blakphoenix , October 25, 2012 10:13 PM
    Is it just me or does Toms now have a very strong apple bias? I hardly see any leaked details about windows or android devices but we seem to get 5-6 ridiculous apple headlines a day. If you're desperate to give us apple news then PLEASE consolidate it into ONE post per day Toms, and how about news on the new windows 8 products and new android products? I don't see Apple innovating things like the new Dell XPS 12 or ASUS Thaichi at the moment, to me those things are exciting!
  • 14 Hide
    hate machine , October 25, 2012 10:20 PM
    blakphoenixIs it just me or does Toms now have a very strong apple bias? I hardly see any leaked details about windows or android devices but we seem to get 5-6 ridiculous apple headlines a day. If you're desperate to give us apple news then PLEASE consolidate it into ONE post per day Toms, and how about news on the new windows 8 products and new android products? I don't see Apple innovating things like the new Dell XPS 12 or ASUS Thaichi at the moment, to me those things are exciting!


    80% of Apple articles are posted by Zak, they used to all be butt happy articles about Apple but now he seems to be posting a little bit of negative stuff and stuff about competition. It is becoming very annoying now. Honestly wish there was a way to filter out certain articles and writers.
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , October 25, 2012 10:25 PM
    I wonder who is providing the info for these type of news (not only here at Toms).

    It's becoming very peculiar, to call it the least, about how well aimed this information is targeted at Apple when all major companies do the same.

    Cheers!
  • 3 Hide
    Camikazi , October 25, 2012 10:29 PM
    YukaI wonder who is providing the info for these type of news (not only here at Toms).It's becoming very peculiar, to call it the least, about how well aimed this information is targeted at Apple when all major companies do the same.Cheers!

    Apple is big and in the spotlight so of course they will be targeted since news about them (good or bad) brings attention. That is the problem with being the "biggest" tech company, you have all eyes on you and all your dirty laundry will come out.
  • 0 Hide
    glasssplinter , October 25, 2012 11:43 PM
    But...but...crapple is an American company that does good for all, how could this be? isheep, completely oblivious to everything yet they keep on buying.
  • 4 Hide
    tobalaz , October 26, 2012 12:39 AM
    Really?
    How long have we known that Apple puts its products together in foreign sweatshops?
    How long have we known Apple dodges paying its taxes to the US Government?
    How long have we known they throw together a device that costs them under $100 between parts, labor and shipping than charges people out the ass for it?
    Old news if you ask me.
    You REALLY want to do an article that'll knock our socks off?
    Try this:
    Compare the working conditions of the workers in the factories for Motorola, Apple, HTC and Samsung, let us know who pays most, has the best benefits, and provides the best working conditions so when we shell out a couple hundred for our new smart phones we do it with a clear conscious knowing more of our money is going to the little guys.
  • 0 Hide
    bllue , October 26, 2012 12:54 AM
    CamikaziApple is big and in the spotlight so of course they will be targeted since news about them (good or bad) brings attention. That is the problem with being the "biggest" tech company, you have all eyes on you and all your dirty laundry will come out.

    I'd like to hear more bad stuff and less good stuff
  • -2 Hide
    alexthager , October 26, 2012 3:22 AM
    Poor working conditions? Seriously?! I don't believe this. I have NEVER heard "poor working conditions" and "Apple" in the same sentence.
  • 0 Hide
    bigdog44 , October 26, 2012 6:48 AM
    Here's a laugh...instead of increasing the cost per unit so the little guy can make some money, why doesnt apple quit being money-mucking M-F'ers and take a smaller profit so the little guy can smell some money instead of just smoke and dust....
  • 0 Hide
    assasin32 , October 26, 2012 6:51 AM
    Too bad Apple doesn't have actual morals like other companies I can't take what they say seriously. They could say they look into it, but to me that says let me sweep that under the rug or find out how they let that guy talk.

    Nintendo could find out one of their supliers have bad practices and say they look into it and I fully trust them that they will look into it and try to correct the situation.
  • 0 Hide
    w0_od , October 27, 2012 7:03 AM
    this is will hardly give any Apple lover a pause. Most cannot see beyond their own boundaries that their consumerism comes at a cost . But that is not a unique trait of Apple fans of course, everyone else in the world is as guilty of living of modern slavery of other 3rd world countries . And most do not care or cannot afford to care.