Pegatron, an Apple supplier, has breached the tech giant's supply chain rules by overworking students. Apple is now taking action.
In a report, the Taiwanese manufacturing company asked students to work overtime and carry tasks in positions unrelated to their majors at one of its plants.
To make things worse, Pegatron has reportedly tried to disguise the violation by misclassifying some of the workers.
Apple Supplier Code of Conduct explicitly states that all work is intentional. The supplier should not use any for slave, force, bonded, indentured, or prison labor. Regular workweeks are restricted to 48 hours, and overtime must be voluntary.
"(They) were not in compliance with local rules and regulations," the statement reads.
Pegatron is a public electronic manufacturing company, and its plants are spread worldwide from Taiwan to the Czech Republic.
What Does This Mean for Apple and Pegatron?
Since a report from Apple's monitoring program surfaced, the tech giant took swift and immediate action.
Although the term 'probation' is not explicitly uttered, this violation could hurt the contract between the two. Apple will not give the manufacturing company any new business, although the new iPhone 12 has just come out until everything is sorted.
"The individuals at Pegatron responsible for the violations went to extraordinary lengths to evade our oversight mechanisms," the statement reads.
After the report surfaced, workers who have been affected were taken off and given 'proper compensation.' To support the process, an external audit team has been commissioned and tasked to do so. The executive in charge of the students had also been fired from the company.
Not the First Time
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Pegatron has breached the term and condition.
Back in 2014, BBC Panorama investigated an exhausted workforce at one of its plants. Workers were forced to work eighteen days straight with no day off, and some even fell asleep during the 12-hour shift production. Overtime was mandatory, and 12 workers have to share one of its cramped dorm rooms.
One undercover reported had to work 18 days in a row despite several requests for a day off.
"Even if I was hungry, I wouldn't want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress," said another undercover reporter.
In 2010, following low pay and continuous stress from work, 14 workers killed themselves at Foxconn, another significant supplier for tech giants like Apple and Hewlett Packard (HP).
Ironically, it also is based in China.
Something has to be done; until then, the cycle could keep repeating and repeating.