As we reported yesterday, Chinese manufacturer Pegatron has been under fire after five unexplained worker deaths, including one involving an underage employee.
Apple has now issued a statement stating that it sent independent medical experts to investigate the issue, and they haven’t found any evidence to link the fatalities to working conditions.
Last month we sent independent medical experts from the U.S. and China to conduct an investigation of the (Pegatron) factory. While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize 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 conditions meet our high standards.
Pegatron is a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing company that operates the bulk of its factories in China and Taiwan. The company made headlines earlier this year when it was reported that Apple was moving away from Foxconn and choosing this smaller firm to assemble its lower-cost iPhone model. Besides the iPhone 5s, Pegatron also was a minor producer of the iPhone in 2011 and the iPad mini in 2012.
A report from the New York Times highlights the plight of a young Chinese laborer named Shi Zhaokun. Shi started working at Pegatron in September of this year and by October 9th, an illness forced him off the assembly line. Shortly after he arrived at the hospital, he died from pneumonia. Though worker documents indicate he was 20-years-old, further investigation after his death revealed he was only 15.
His family claims conditions at the factory contributed to his death, noting that he passed all physicals and was declared healthy prior to starting his employment. Though details on the factory work conditions were not available, Shi’s family documented his work schedule, revealing that the boy was working 70-80 hours per week. For its part, Pegatron claims the boy’s death “is not related to the workplace environment” and offered Shi’s family about 90,000 renminbi ($ 15,000) in compensation.