Apple chiefs hit back at BBC allegations

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EXECUTIVES at technology giant Apple have told staff they are “deeply offended” by allegations made in BBC’s Panorama that the company mistreats workers at its Chinese factories.

The programme sent undercover reporters into the Pegatron factories near Shanghai, where Apple’s iPhones and iPads are assembled, and it claims to have uncovered instances of poor treatment of workers, including breaching rules on worker hours.

In an email sent to over 5,000 UK staff, Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations said: “[Chief executive Tim Cook] and I are deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way.”

The email hit back at the BBC and said that Apple monitors the working hours of more than one million workers based in its various factories, and that these facilities achieve an average of 93 per cent compliance with 60-hour working week limits.

The report alleges that workers fell asleep during their 12 hour shifts while on the iPhone 6 production line, and some were made to work for 18 days in a row, with requests for days off denied.

“Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions. Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth,” it said, before suggesting that information Apple shared with the BBC about company commitments on human rights were “clearly missing from their programme”.

The BBC report also alleged that it found illegal tin from mines in Indonesian where children were working could be making its way into the Apple supply chain. Apple has publicly stated that tin from Indonesia ends up in our products, and some of that tin likely comes from illegal mines,” Mr Williams said.

“Tens of thousands of artisanal miners are selling tin through many middlemen to the smelters who supply to component suppliers who sell to the world. The government is not addressing the issue, and there is widespread corruption in the undeveloped supply chain. Our team visited the same parts of Indonesia visited by the BBC, and of course we are appalled by what’s going on there.”