July 29, 2013, 3:55 AM — Apple supplier Pegatron is facing criticism from a watchdog group for poor working conditions at its factories in China.
The Taiwanese electronics maker came under fire for allegedly violating Chinese labor laws with the publication Monday of a new 60-page report from New York-based China Labor Watch that documents conditions at the factories.
The alleged violations include unfairly deducting or failing to pay wages, providing insufficient worker training, and making overtime work mandatory, among others.
The report also questioned Apple's efforts to cap the work week at its supplier factories to 60 hours. China Labor Watch's investigation found that the hours ranged from 66 to 69 hours at the facilities, and that Pegatron was allegedly falsifying worker attendance to keep the reported hours down.
There have been rumors that Pegatron will make a budget iPhone for Apple.
China Labor Watch, which has been critical of Apple and Samsung for their labor policies in China, investigated three Pegatron factories in China, one of which it claims is building the budget version of the iPhone. From March to July of this year, the group sent undercover investigators to work at the factories and interview nearly 200 employees.
Apple has been in "close contact" with China Labor Watch over the last several months, and is investigating the reported issues, the company said in a statement Monday.
Since 2007, the U.S. tech giant has conducted 15 audits of Pegatron facilities covering more than 130,000 workers, Apple said. In the past 18 months, surprise audits were made at two of the Pegatron factories named in China Labor Watch's report.
"Our most recent survey in June found that Pegatron employees making Apple products worked 46 hours per week on average," Apple added. The company, however, is sending teams to investigate the three Pegatron facilities this week, and is requiring the Taiwanese manufacturer to reimburse workers for any instances of unpaid compensation.
Pegatron is also investigating the claims and will correct any violations found, the company's CEO Jason Cheng said in a statement. "We strive to make each day at Pegatron better than the last for our employees. They are the heart of our business," he said.