Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has dispatched a team of investigators to review claims of unsafe work conditions at a supplier's factory in eastern China, according to a report Friday. Catcher Technology Co. Ltd. (TPE:2474) supplies components for iPads and MacBooks.
China Labor Watch and Green America claimed, in a joint report, that Tainan, Taiwan-based Catcher Technology had violated 22 labor laws with discriminatory hiring policies, incomplete pre-employment training sessions, poor safety infrastructure, excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, rigid management and pitiably inadequate living conditions in factory dormitories.
"The investigator discovered extensive violations of Chinese labor laws, as well as violations of Catcher’s policies and Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct," the report said, adding that factories making Apple products often failed to make "fundamental improvements in labor conditions and treatment of workers" recommended by investigators.
Chris Gaither, an Apple spokesperson, said that an official team of investigators has been sent to the factory to look into the allegations, adding that the company had planned a follow-up visit in October to review the supplier's facility. “Apple is committed to ensuring safe and fair working conditions for everyone in our supply chain,” he said.
Apple had conducted a quarterly fire inspection at Catcher last week and the latter had addressed the issues on the same day, Gaither said, adding that “some concrete areas for improvement” were also uncovered after an annual audit in May, and Apple had coordinated with the supplier to resolve them.
The labor watchdogs’ report was based on an investigation conducted in August at the Catcher factory in Suqian, in eastern China, where nearly 20,000 workers produce metal casings for various devices.
Apple is preparing for a special event on Sept. 9 when the company is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone 6 models and its first-ever wearable device, dubbed the "iWatch" smartwatch.
“We are deeply concerned about the claims made by China Labor Watch, and we take the report very seriously,” James Wu, Catcher’s chief financial officer, said in an e-mailed statement, obtained by Reuters. “We are committed to following Apple’s supplier code of conduct and will investigate thoroughly.”