Apple Targeted in Taiwan Labor Protests

| News

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]."

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“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.”

Whenever I see a statement like the one above, I know the workers are getting screwed.  The lack of certain social laws/policies is what makes companies move their factories out of country.  Many people don’t believe it but we had to fire American workers and move abroad to get near slave labor.

Damn I just got a visual of those small brown people chained to the spot on the assembly lines.  Being forced to work 12 hour shifts.  All of that misery and the price of the things they make haven’t come down at all.  Guess who reaped the benefit of their enforced labor.  Shareholders!

The Plashing Vole

It’s a great bit of PR sleight-of-hand. Conforming to local labour laws really means ‘we dictated the lowest standards of labour protection to the government. They know that there are even less scrupulous countries willing to provide us with tax breaks and slave labour. Make those agitators shut up or we’re going to Burma’. Pretty much everything we buy is cheaper than it should be because we’d rather not hear about the subcontracting, tax evasion, outsourcing and exploitation which makes up modern Western capitalism. My lovely shiny Mac is no better in this regard than any other piece of equipment and I, of course, am equally guilty.

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