Apple is at the centre of a new worker rights storm, after US-based watchdog China Labor Watch (CLW) released a report alleging a range of violations had taken place at the factories of one of its key supply chain partners, the Pegatron Group.
The report focuses on three Chinese facilities used to assemble iPhones and iPads, with China Labour Watch claiming that violations include underage labour, contract violations, and excessive working hours.
In total, the China Labour Watch report details 86 separate labour rights violations, 36 legal violations, and 50 ethical violations.
"In short, the Pegatron factories are violating a great number of international and Chinese laws and standards as well as the standards of Apple's own social responsibility code of conduct," the CLW investigation noted.
Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, added that the "investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories."
Responding to the CLW allegations, Apple issued a lengthy statement to The Next Web (opens in new tab) amongst others.
"We have been in close contact with China Labor Watch for several months, investigating issues they've raised and sharing our findings," Apple said.
The Californian firm added: "Their latest report contains claims that are new to us and we will investigate them immediately. Our audit teams will return to Pegatron, RiTeng and AVY for special inspections this week."
Reports of worker rights abuses at Pegatron facilities follow the numerous concerns expressed about conditions at the the plants of another major Apple partner, Foxconn.
In fact, the negative publicity surrounding conditions at the Taiwanese firm's mainland China factories is believed to have contributed to Apple's decision to scale-back its partnership with Foxconn. (opens in new tab)
Ironically, Pegatron was the main beneficiary of the shift in strategy, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. (opens in new tab)
Pegatron took the CLW allegations "very seriously," according to its chief executive, Jason Cheng.