A labor right groups put out a report today alleging that Taiwanese company Pegatron Group, a major supplier of parts to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), is violating Chinese labor laws in ways including making workers labor long overtime hours "to turn out a scaled-back, less expensive version of the iPhone."
China Labor Watch, or CLW, accuses Pegatron of practices including paying its workers at a rate that provides an income that is less than half the average local monthly income, forcing them into work weeks consisting of 66, 67, and 69 hours on average at the three Pegatron factories CLW investigated. The group also says China's legal limit is 49 hours per week.
Apple said in a statement it was "committed to providing safe and fair working conditions" and would send auditors to three Pegatron facilities this week to investigate the report's claims. The Taiwanese company's chief executive, in a separate statement, also promised to investigate. Apple said its own audit found Pegatron employees making Apple products worked 46 hours per week on average.
The work-hour circumstances that CLW alleges go against Apple's own Supplier Code of Conduct, which "limits work weeks to 60 hours except in unusual circumstances." CLW says that workers in Pegatron's Shanghai factory were forced into declaring they worked fewer hours than they actually did.
"Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories," said CLW executive director Li Qiang in a statement. "Apple has not lived up to its own standards.This will lead to Apple's suppliers abusing labor in order to strengthen their position for receiving orders."
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.