Believe it or not, there might be worse things Apple does than giving you a free U2 album. A major new report from BBC Panorama has exposed some of the brutal working conditions in factories run by Apple supplier Pegatron. Panorama got two undercover reporters jobs at a Pegatron facility and they found almost immediately after they started working there that the facility was not following Apple’s protocols for fair labor practices.
“Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken,” Panorama reports. “It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.”
Panorama also found that some of Apple’s mineral supplies may be coming from illegal mines that employ young children to perform dangerous work without proper training. Travelling to one mine in Indonesia, Panorama “found children digging tin ore out by hand in extremely dangerous conditions — miners can be buried alive when the walls of sand or mud collapse.”
In response to the BBC’s accusations, Apple said that it was “deeply offended” by the claims and said that it does more to improve worker safety in its suppliers’ factories than any other company.
“We know of no other company doing as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions, to discover and investigate problems, to fix and follow through when issues arise, and to provide transparency into the operations of our suppliers,” said Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams in an email obtained by The Telegraph. “We can still do better. And we will.”
While Apple gets the lion’s share of criticism for labor conditions in its suppliers’ plants, these sorts of conditions are widespread among all smartphone manufacturing suppliers. Samsung, for instance, also has had suppliers that have used child labor in the past and has similarly been accused of employing suppliers that offer awful working conditions for employees.