Image

Just as Pegatron has managed to snatch more Apple contracts away from Foxconn, so too has it attracted greater scrutiny of the conditions faced by its 70,000 workers. China Labor Watch, the US-based worker welfare monitor, now alleges that Chinese factories run by the up-and-coming Taiwan-based manufacturer are "even worse" than Foxconn's. It claims to have found health and safety violations, poor living conditions in dorms, and the coercion of workers by withholding their pay or identity cards -- in other words, the sort of stuff that breaches both Chinese law and Apple's supplier policy. Its latest report also accuses Apple of failing to treat abuses with the same urgency that it applies to lapses in product quality.

For its part, Apple has responded by highlighting the fact that it has audited Pegatron facilities 15 times in the last six years, and that a recent survey found that Pegatron employees were working an average of 46 hours per week. It also said it had dealt promptly with earlier instances of ID cards being withheld, but admitted that China Labor Watch's report includes "claims that are new to us" and that will need to be investigated "thoroughly."

[Image credit: Jay Greene, CNET]