Secret footage taken from Chinese factories and illegal child-labor mines show the horrible price paid to make iPhones and iPads.
A BBC-Panorama documentary investigating Apple’s production factories in China uncovered workers who are forced to endure appalling conditions to produce Apple products.
Undercover workers for the BBC secretly investigated the Foxconn and Pegatron factories in China where iPhones and iPads are produced. Foxconn made headlines in 2010 when 14 of its workers committed suicide after working in labor-camp conditions — Apple then made promises to protect workers in its supply chains. The documentary reveals that conditions have not improved much:
-Workers have their ID cards confiscated by managers upon employment at the factory to ensure they can’t go anywhere — it is illegal to not have your ID card on you at all times in China.
-Factory dorm rooms built for eight workers each house 12.
-Factory managers bully workers into working overtime. Workers endure over 12-hour work days, clocking over 60 hours a week, which is far from Apple’s established guidelines. The BBC claims that factories falsify paperwork to make it look like workers agree to work nights.
-Because of exhaustion, workers sleeping in their position on the line is common, but exposed live wires can also mean that dozing off will result in electrocution. Many simply fall from exhaustion.
But in Indonesia, things only get worse.
The team went a step further to uncover the source of the raw material the factories use — an illegal tin mine in Bangka, Indonesia, where child workers are routinely buried alive by mudslides, their mangled bodies with mouths full of sand are retrieved by heavy construction diggers afterward.
Children sift through mud pits, picking up tin ore by hand. Mudslides occur often where mud walls are hosed down as child miners scramble below to gather ore. This rainforest mining operation also destroys the landscape, transforming a dense jungle into a muddy desert.
The BBC also traced tin suppliers to illegal operations off the coast of Indonesia that drudge the seabed for tin ore, permanently destroying coral reefs and creating seas of mud that ruin the ecosystem.
In response to the BBC footage, Apple CEO Tim Cook and senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams responded with a letter to 5,000 staff members across the U.K., describing themselves as “deeply offended” by the allegations.
“Last night, the BBC’s Panorama program called those values into question. Like many of you, Tim and I were 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 … We will not rest until every person in our supply chain is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
The letter is basically filled with the “facts” of Apple’s operation, which basically claim that yes, while these allegations may be true, Apple is doing more than any other company out there to ensure safe working conditions.
This fact still remains, however — when you bought your iPhone or iPad, you paid for the spilled blood of Chinese factory workers and Indonesian children.
You can check out the full documentary here on Youtube.