While the BBC’s documentary profiling working conditions in Apple’s product supply chain, “Apple’s Broken Promises,” is set to air tonight, BBC News has published a story highlighting what was discovered in visits to Pegatron factories in China, and tin mines in Indonesia.
During the visit, the BBC found that workers at Pegatron factories were forced to put in long hours assembling Apple devices, and that there were violations with ID cards, dormitories, work meetings, and juvenile workers.
Multiple reporters went undercover at the factories, and report working 18 days in a row without a day off, seeing other workers fall asleep on the assembly lines during 12-hour work days, and being forced to work overtime, which is supposed to be voluntary.
Other reporters say they were required to attend work meetings off the clock, while another reporter was forced to sleep in a dormitory, sharing one room with 12 other workers.
Apple has released a statement in response to the BBC’s allegations, saying it does more than any other company to improve working conditions at it supplier’s factories. The company also claims it monitors working hours at the Pegatron facilities, noting that employees average 55 hours per week.
Apple also said the dormitory overcrowding has been resolved, and the suppliers are required to retroactively pay workers if they haven’t already been compensated for off the clock meetings.
The BBC also traveled to Indonesia to investigate whether tin from illegal mines could be entering Apple’s supply chain without its knowledge. Children were found mining tin ore that was eventually sold to a smelter that is on Apple’s list of approved suppliers. Apple noted that it is “complex” to monitor the situation in Indonesia, as thousands of miners sell their tin via middle men.
While Apple has found itself under the microscope numerous times due to conditions at its suppliers factories, the company has made moves to improve conditions for those workers.
Apple maintains a Supplier Responsibility Team that performs regular audits to ensure compliance by its suppliers, however the sheer number of suppliers in its production chain makes it difficult for the company to keep a constant eye on all of its supply chain.
Apple’s Broken Promises is set to air on BBC One tonight, December 18 at 9:00PM U.K. time. It will be replayed on BBC iPlayer. (U.K. viewers only.)