Apple's Taipei offices were the focus of Taiwanese labor union protests on Thursday over claims that parts supplier Wintek has been exploiting its workers. The protesters targeted Apple because Wintek supplies the company with flat panel display components, according to the GlobalPost.
National Federation of Independent Trade Unions secretary-general, Chu Wei-li, commented "We want to go through Apple to put pressure on Wintek."
Wintek laid off some employees and started what it calls "cost saving measures" after suffering record losses in 2008.
The unions have been negotiating with Wintek for several months, but haven't been able to convince Wintek to change its labor practices. Wintek, however, insists it is treating its employees fairly, and is in compliance with local laws and regulations along with with supplier code of conduct agreements.
It appears that Wintek isn't happy with the union protests. "We hope... certain persons or groups do not [make] unfounded allegations to harm Wintek's reputation and affect the normal business activities of a law-abiding company," said comapny spokesperson Susie Lee. "Wintek shall take relevant necessary steps including legal action in order to protect company and stakeholders interests."
Apple hasn't launched its own inspections into Wintek's practices, but the company does require suppliers to adhere to its code of conduct. Apple spokesperson Jill Tan commented "Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are [made]."