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China – Underage worker drops dead in Apple factory

12 December 2013

A 15-year old boy dropped dead at Apple’s Pegatron factory in China, where the new iPhone 5C is in production, reports Business Insider Australia. His death is one of five at Pegatron that labour activists say the company has failed to explain.

The boy, named Shi Zhaokun, died of pneumonia in September 2013 following an extended period of working 12 hours a day, six days a week, according to activists from China Labour Watch (CLW). CLW is a workers’ rights organisation that performs undercover investigations at Chinese electronics manufacturing plants.

CLW investigated Pegatron earlier this year for violating the rights of permanent and temporary workers. The Taiwanese supplier was accused of using underage workers, paying insufficient wages, and forcing employees to work overtime.    

In a statement to the New York Times, Apple said: “While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realise that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones. Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that condition meet our higher standards.”

Pegatron has reportedly offered the boy’s family the equivalent of USD 15,000 in compensation for his death. Negotiations are reportedly ongoing.    

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