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China Labor Watch again cites Apple for poor Chinese factory working conditions

Apple has come under fire again for working conditions in an iPhone and MacBook enclosure manufacturing facility, with workers allegedly undertrained, and lacking sufficient hazard protections.




A report from Bloomberg on Tuesday, and a forthcoming report from China Labor Watch both allege that goggles and earplugs for workers are not always available to workers. The sites have frequent spray of tiny metallic particles, and noise in excess of 80 decibels on the factory floor, according to the workers.

Dormitory conditions are reportedly terrible as well, lacking hot water and showers. As a result, workers may pass on washing for days at a time.

"My hands turned bloodless white after a day of work," one of the workers told Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity. "I only tell good things to my family and keep the sufferings like this for myself."

China Labor Watch interviewed 50 employees for its forthcoming report, finding "major issues" with scheduling, pollution, and occupational safety. The advocacy group claims that the company violates Chinese law regarding owed wages for departing employees.

Other issues found range from a lack of rubber gloves to protect from fluid spray, the smell of the facility mostly from solvent off-gassing, poor respiratory filters, overcrowded dormitories with poor climate control, and bad training including short sessions and a lack of fixed procedures.




No incidents of child labor were found by China Labor Watch.

After hearing about the impending report, Apple sent an additional team to audit the complex. An Apple spokeswoman said that the team found no evidence of violations of its standards, after interviewing 150 people.

"We know our work is never done and we investigate each and every allegation thats made," the un-named spokeswoman said to Bloomberg. "We remain dedicated to doing all we can to protect the workers in our supply chain."

Catcher works for Apple, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, and LG, amongst others, providing magnesium and machined aluminum, with both Bloomberg and China Labor Watch mentioning the other companies in passing. Apple's iPhone and MacBook enclosures are milled by Catcher.

The report out of Catcher's Suqian facility is not the first to find issues. In 2013 and 2014, the supplier was found to be in violation of many issues, surrounding pay and hazardous material handling.