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© nomadsoul1 dreamstime.com Electronics Production | February 08, 2013

Workers rights - still a lot to wish for

The human rights network GoodElectronics, is really taking Apple at their word – Tim Cook has said that Apple wants to be as innovative with supply chain responsibility as with its products.
And now, GoodElectronics is doing a deep dive into the Cupertino-based electronics giant, to make sure that Apple lives up to this statement.

And as one can imagine, the truth is not as pretty as fiction. There are several reports out there that speak of forced overtime at Apple supplier factories, harsh treatment and the lack of democratic workers representation.

Several human rights groups have spoken out about misconduct among Apple's suppliers. And while Appleitself claims that 98% of the facilities audited in 2012 were in compliance with the freedom of association provision of Apple's code – but the watchdogs do not agree.

Although, in certain manufacturing countries there are sometimes legal barriers to freedom of association.

SACOM reported about massive strikes at supplier plants in China, involving thousands of workers. They were protesting due to disputes over working hours, wages and occupational health and safety issues. And according to SACOM this reflects failure of a good worker representative system.

In Mexico, The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) and the Mexican labour rights group Cereal spoke out about corrupt ghost unions preventing workers from exercising their associational rights.

And the list provided by GoodElectronics – just goes on – and the group means that there is no explanation for how Apple arrived at these figures.

GoodElectronics is following up on the campaign “Time to bite into a fair Apple” and is calling for sustainable electronics and to improve communication between workers and management at Apple suppliers.

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