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Bryan M. Wolfe
| December 12, 2013
Apple: The Death Of A 15-Year-Old Pegatron Employee Was Not Work Related
The death of a 15-year-old employee at Pegatron was not work related. This is the conclusion made by a medical team hired by Apple, according to Reuters. As reported earlier this week, Shi Zhaohun died of pneumonia in October. This came after the employee had often worked 12 hours a days, six days a week at the Apple-supplier. Pegatron had previously said the workplace environment isn’t what caused Shi’s death. Apple has now agreed. In a statement, the company said:
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 cannot hire workers under 16, the legal working age in China. Apple’s supplier responsibility statement bars employees of supplier companies in China from working more than 60 hours a week — so does Chinese law. On his legal documents, Shi claimed to be above the legal limit. He worked 79 hours in his first week, 77 in his second, and 75 in his third, according to documents provided by his family. Pegatron says that work logs don’t take into account breaks, and that Shi’s hours “did not exceed the legal limit.” In related news, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has announced that Apple-supplier Foxconn is now limiting working hours to 60 hours per week at its Chinese-based factories. In a statement, FLA President and Chief Executive Auret van Heerden said "FLA's expectation is that Apple, working with Foxconn, will continue to rigorously monitor working hours to ensure that they comply with the FLA standard of 60 hours per week but also make progress toward the Chinese legal limit of 49 hours per week." Last year, Apple commissioned an investigation, by the FLA, of suppliers’ factories in China. This followed numerous reports in recent years about unsafe working conditions at Apple's largest supplier. Photo: Inhabitat