20090521 Protest against Apple Computer Taiwan
STOP EXPLOITING LABOURS, SAY NO TO BLOODY APPLE.

「社運公佈欄」是一個開放的平台,內容不代表苦勞網立場。任何社運議題相關行動/記者會/活動/講座採訪通知與新聞稿發佈,歡迎寄至 cool[email protected]
2009/05/21

Time: 21 May 2009 (Thursday) AM10: 00 (about 60 people)

Place: Apple Computer Taiwan

(No.333, Sec. 2, Dunhua S. Rd., Da-an Dist., Taipei City, Taiwan)

Contact: Chu Wei-Li (0981-238-732)

English Contact: Torrent Pien([email protected])

Global financial crisis remains serious all over the world but Apple Computer made an extremely big profit increase by 15% at Q1 ’09 compared to the last quarter. However, the truth is that the big profit Apple made has been proved to be the result of exploiting the workers not only in Taiwan but also in mainland China.

WINTEK (Owner: Huang Hsien-Hsiung, Address: No.10, Jianguo Rd., Tanzih Township, Taichung County, Taiwan) is one of the major suppliers of Apple Computer. The ranking of market share in small size mobile phone panels and touch panels is No.1 in Taiwan and No.3 worldwide. In the last couple months, WINTEK not only laid off but also exploited lots of workers in Taiwan and mainland China.

In Dec. 2008, WINTEK laid off over 600 workers in Taiwan without any notice in advance and kept cutting workers’ salary, forcing unpaid leaves on employees. Recently, WINTEK received big and urgent orders and tried to force workers to do more job without any vacation or overtime salary. The labour department of Taiwan government has already found proofs of offenses during the inspection process on WINTEK. Besides, WINTEK’s factories in Dongguan also cut workers’ salary without any negotiation with them. Last but not the least, the food there is too bad for people and WINTEK has illegally laid off 19 workers who joined the strike against the foul working condition.

Apple Computer and WINTEK made their profit by sacrificing labours’ basic rights and exploiting labours illegally. Labour organizations worldwide can’t stand aside for it and has started a campaign to condemn WINTEK.

Labour organizations in Taiwan and WINTEK workers union will protest on May 21st, 2009 at Apple Computer Taiwan and ask Apple / WINTEK to promise to improve the working conditions before May 31st, 2009, “Stop exploiting the labours across the Taiwan Strait.”

Appeals / Demands

1. Apple must follow the international Supplier’s Code of Conduct and demand WINTEK to give the jobs back to the workers who were laid off in Taiwan and mainland China, withdraw the lawsuit of defamation, and promise no retaliation on workers.

2. Apple must follow the international Supplier’s Code of Conduct to demand WINTEK to improve its working condition immediately.

3. Apple must demand WINTEK to allow third-party labour unions or organization to enter the factories to conduct inspections on its working condition, explain the fact of the event in public and look into the responsibility. Besides, Apple should review its order to WINTEK based on the results of the inspection and WINTEK’s improvement.

4. Apple must respect the will of the representatives of labours and make direct talks with them. These representatives should be chosen by WINTEK workers in Taiwan and mainland China.

Organizations:

Taiwan: National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, WINTEK bargaining team, Solidarity Union, Youth labor union 95, Taiwan Labor Information & Education Association, Confederation of Trade Union in Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, Tainan County and Kaohsiung County.

HongKong: Globalization Monitor, SACOM, HKCTU, Labour Action China

Mainland China: China Worker Studies

Japan: Asian Pacific Workers Solidarty Links

 

To Apple Inc.:

Everyone knows that Apple Inc. is a leading brand in technology application, and its products have gained great popularity all over the world. In Apple’s Corporate Social Responsibility collaborative initiatives, Apple addresses issues of labor rights and claims that its hit products would never come from the exploitation of labor.

After several months into investigation, however, we found that one of your suppliers, WINTEK Corporation, has seriously violated your Supplier Code of Conduct. Apple has not yet taken any action toward rectifying this. We hope our protests will evoke your conscience and draw your attention to this labor rights issue. Apple Inc. has the obligation to ensure to its first-line workers their inalienable labor rights. We hope Apple can keep its promise of corporate social responsibility and demand that all its suppliers, including WINTEK, meet international labor standards.

Since last year, WINTEK Corporation has taken all measures to push the labor cost down. In its factories in Mainland China and Taiwan, WINTEK imposed mandatory unpaid leaves, laid off employees, cut overtime pay, and canceled special bonuses and allowance. According to labor regulations in China and in Taiwan, respectively, all labor contract changes have to be approved both by employers and employees. But WINTEK changed contracts and compensation without employee approval. WINTEK forced employees to accept those compensation and contract changes; WINTEK even laid off a large number of workers when the company still earned huge profits. This kind of large-scale layoff violates Taiwanese labor laws.

When the employees in WINTEK strove for their legal rights, WINTEK suppressed them rather than retracted its illegal orders. WINTEK sued both these employees and Wei-Li Chu, the Secretary General of National Federation of Independent Trade Unions, who supported the strikes in WINTEK. These lawsuits violated the whistleblower protection rules in the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct.

As for employee basic benefit and health issues, WINTEK also has shown very bad performance. MASSTOP in Dongguan, a subsidiary factory of WINTEK, failed to provide sanitary food to its workers. MASSTOP cut the employee food budget from 8 RMB to 4.5 RMB per person per day. According to the employees in MASSTOP, the food provided by the company was stinky and sour, and the steel plates were rusty. Moreover, on April 3, hundreds of the workers in MASSTOP were sent to the hospital because of on-site food poisoning. This is a serious violation of the dining rules in the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct. But Apple hasn’t reacted to this significant violation. Apple has the obligation to demand WINTEK to improve the health and dining situations in MASSTOP.

The labor measures taken by WINTEK, including the cut in overtime pay, were deemed illegal by the Taiwan government after an official labor inspection. MASSTOP in Donguan has ignored labor rights for a long time. MASSTOP does not provide an anonymous complaint mechanism for workers to report workplace grievances; a forum for such anonymous complaints is recognized as basic employee right in the Apple Supplier Code of Conduct. Many grievances remain unsolved; hence, 7,000 workers in MASSTOP went on a three-day large-scale strike on April 15, 2009. We have not yet seen Apple take any measures to remedy these serious conflicts and violations.

This is not the first time that Apple has been involved with violations of labor rights standards. In 2006, there was a controversy over an “iPod sweatshop” in Foxconn, and we believe that Apple understand the inside story better than us. In 2008, Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) addressed issues about underpaid overtime, work injuries, and insufficient labor insurance in the Primax factory in Dongguan, where iPhone cameras and accessories are made. Now in 2009, there is another violation case, this time involving WINTEK.

Apple may have demonstrated excellent achievements in technology innovation and application, but it has significant flaws in supplier monitoring and management. Hence, we make a four-part appeal to Apple to improve the labor conditions in your suppliers’ factories, and we hope Apple will give the public a clear promise by May 31.

1. Apple must follow the international Supplier’s Code of Conduct and demand that WINTEK restore the jobs taken from the workers who were laid off in Taiwan and China, withdraw the demonstration lawsuit, and promise no retaliation on workers.

2. Apple must follow the international Supplier Code of Conduct by demanding that WINTEK improve its working conditions immediately.

3. Apple must demand WINTEK to allow third-party labor unions or organizations to enter the factories to conduct labor inspections, reveal the inspection results to the public, and look into the responsibility. Further, Apple should review its orders with WINTEK, evaluating the supplier contract based on the inspection results and WINTEK’s improvement.

4. Apple must respect the will of the labor representatives and hold direct talks with them. The labor representatives should be chosen by WINTEK workers in Taiwan and China. 

WINTEK Co.Offenses of Law &Code of Conduct

According to the Supplier’s Code of Conduct outlined by Apple Inc., WINTEK, as one of Apple’s suppliers, is obliged not only to obey local labour laws, but also to offer working conditions that meet the requirements of international labour rights principles.

However, we were shocked to find much of WINTEK’s behaviour at its manufacture lines in Taiwan and China to be blatant violation of local laws, and of Apple’s Supplier’s Code of Conduct.

Apple Inc., as one company that has promoted Corporal Social Responsibility issues, should deal immediately with WINTEK’s misbehavior. Apple Inc. is advised to demand WINTEK for prompt improvement, endorse a third party to thoroughly examine the working conditions at WINTEK, and reconsider its partnership with WINTEK. Listed below are WINTEK’s offenses:

Table one: WINTEK’s offences of law in Taiwan

Facts Details
1. Unlawful mass lay-offs. Laid off nearly 700 employees while there still is a surplus of four billion TWD. (approx. $118 million USD) Taiwanese press also reported that WINTEK had received urgent orders, thus needed to hire a good number of new workers.
2. Demanding employees to work unpaid, meanwhile assigning unpaid leaves. (Confirmed and fined by Taiwanese labour administration) Since November 2008, WINTEK began to force unpaid leaves on employees, meanwhile asking them to resume the work, unpaid.
3. Changing working hoursunilaterally Asking the night shifts to work as many hours as the day shifts per month. The discrepancy was counted as a leave of absence, thus deduction of one day’s wages. Some got a monthly wage lower than the basic NT$ 17280/ month.
4. Demanding employees to catch up on working hours, resulting in more than ten consecutive working days.

(Confirmed and fined by Taiwanese labour administration)

The 4-2 shifts were demanded to make up on their working hours, thus had to work 10 days in a row. This has constituted an offense of Article 36 of Labour Standards Law.
5. Forcing workers to work overtime In order to meet deadlines, forcing workers to work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and forcing them to give up days off and national holidays. This has constituted an offense of Article 30, 32, 36, 37 and 39 of Labour Standards Law.
6. Forcing workers to sign the agreement, replacing overtime wages with days off. Forcing workers to sign the agreement, replacing overtime wages with days off. This has constituted an offense of Article 24 of Labour Standards Law.

 

Table two: Unlawful actions of MASSTOP, WINTEK’s subsidiary in Dongguan, China.

Facts Details
1. Cancelling full attendance rewards upon the raise of basic wage, without negotiation with employees. Immediately after the Dongguan government raised the basic wage to $770 RMB (approx. $114 USD), MASSTOP canceled the full attendance rewards promised in the contract.
2. Unilaterally cancelling benefits without negotiation with employees In October, 2008, MASSTOP posted a notice declaring the cancelling of performance rewards and year-end bonuses.
3. Adopting special working hours without the approval of Dongguan’s labour administration, reducing holiday wages from twice the normal wage to just 1.5 times of it. On February 27, MASSTOP posted a notice, declaring a special working hours system has been approved by Dongguan City’s labour administration. However, the employees found out in March the administration has never approved such change. MASSTOP claimed it had been approved, while forcing employees to sign the agreement.
4. During the strike, unilaterally claiming that workers who failed to return before three in the afternoon, April 17, would be regarded as voluntarily ending their labour contracts. Employees of MASSTOP in Dongguan went on strike for labour condition issues such as underpaid overtime. Though the company agreed that overtime wages would be handed out before April, 21, according to the Chinese labour regulations, workers have the right to continue the strike as long as they don’t have their wages. The company’s rules stated that workers who neglect work over 2 days might be sacked.

Table three: WINTEK (and MASSTOP) violations of the Apple Supplier’s Code of Conduct

Codes violated Facts in Taiwan (WINTEK) Facts in Dongguan, China (MASSTOP, WINTEK's subsidiary)
The code concerning overtime wages: “workers must be compensated for overtime hours at the premium rate required by applicable laws and regulations.” forced employees to give up their overtime payment and holiday subsidies, opting for more days off instead. Adopting special working hours without the approval of Dongguan’s labour administration, reducing holiday wages from twice the normal wage to just 1.5 times of it. (Later proved the administration has never approved such change.)
The code concerning fair treatment to employees according to applicable laws and regulations. While the company still enjoys orders and surplus, it kept laying off workers illegally, cutting pays and benefits, forcing unpaid leaves, demanding work without pay, resulting in a monthly wage lower than the basic NT$ 17280/ month. Unilaterally cancelled the full attendance rewards when Dongguan government raised the basic wages. In February, MASSTOP claimed that the adoption of special working hours system had been approved by the administration, to reduce overtime wages to 1.5 times of the normal wages instead of twice. Amidst the strike initiated by angry workers, the company unilaterally claimed that those who failed to return to work before three in the afternoon, April 17, would be regarded as voluntarily ending their labour contracts.
The code concerning dormitory and dining: “Suppliers must provide workers with clean toilet facilities, access to potable water, and sanitary food.”   Cut the expenses for daily meals from 8 RMB to 4.5 RMB. Some say the food is a far cry from edible. This issue directly resulted to the strike, but the company has not solved it yet.

There was a mass ptomaine poisoning this April.

The code concerning whistleblower protection and anonymous complaints While employees made legal attempts to appeal to labour laws and the public, WINTEK has filed a lawsuit against Wei-Li Chu, secretary general of the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (Taiwan), who continuously helped WINTEK workers who tried to get their jobs back. There is not yet an program through which employees can file complaints anonymously. After the strike, the company has been taking retaliatory actions, including admonishing strikeparticipants. As a result, other employees are being silenced about emerging problems in the company.
The code concerning a safe working environment Workers at CG manufacture lines in WINTEK’s Tanzi factory, and those at the yellow light section in Huangchung and Chunggung factories are required to use organic solvent such as halftone detergent or etching solvent, but WINTEK did not provide masks or protective suits.  
主題: 

臉書討論