updated 05:15 pm EDT, Thu May 21, 2009
Apple in Taiwan labor row
Apple has become the focus of a conflict over worker rights in Taiwan, local reporters say. Labor groups today carried banners and microphones outside of Apple's Taipei office, hoping to put indirect pressure on Wintek, a major supplier of flat-panel displays. The latter is accused of firing over 600 workers in December without warning, moreover cutting salaries, and forcing some of its people to work unpaid overtime in order to fulfill rush orders.
A subsidiary of Wintek in Dongguan, China faces accusations of firing 19 employees in April following a strike, which itself was triggered by poor working conditions and non-negotiated wage cuts. Wintek insists that it has followed all regional laws, and further given laid-off workers proper compensation packages. The company has threatened legal action, however, should "company and stakeholders interests" become jeopardized.
Apple has said little about the dispute, except to argue that it regularly audits suppliers, with the goal of ensuring they meet the company's public ethics standards. Such rules were enforced in 2006, when a Chinese factory belonging to Foxconn was similarly found to be overworking its staff. The audit is said to have only been initiated after media reports.