Asian Labor Unions Plan More Protests Targeting Apple

taiwan_protestors

Labor protesters demonstrating outside Apple’s Taiwan offices in May. The Apple laptop says “Responsibility.” Images: Global Post.

Asian labor unions will be putting more pressure on Apple on Tuesday with a protest at Computex Taipei, Asia’s largest electronics show.

The unions are hoping to force Apple to intervene in a labor dispute with one of the company’s major suppliers, Wintek, which makes LCD screens and is rumored to be working on the upcoming Mac/iPod tablet.

Wintek has been accused of unfairly laying-off workers and poor and exploitative working conditions in factories in Taiwan and mainland China. Wintek denies the charges.

The protest will “expose the reality to the public, and request Apple Inc. to execute its Code of Conduct, to end the exploitation of labors in Taiwan and China,” one of the unions said in a news release.

The workers hope the action will force Apple to enforce it’s Code of Supplier Responsibility, instituted after 2006 allegations of exploitation at an iPod factory run by Foxconn, another Apple supplier factories in mainland China.

The protest on June 2 will coincide with opening day of Computex Taipei. The show is the largest gathering of Asia’s tech companies and suppliers.

The union also hopes to pressure other big companies that do business with Wintek, including Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.

The union claims that during last year’s economic downturn, Wintek laid off more than 600 Taiwanese workers, cut workers’ salaries, and forced workers to take unpaid leave. Then, when orders picked up this spring, the company canceled vacations, and forced workers to work overtime but failed to pay overtime wages.

“We strongly appeal to the major clients of Wintek, such as Apple Inc., Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and Quanta to take their corporate social responsibilities and follow the Supplier Code of Conduct to request WINTEK to resolve the labor issues,” the union said.

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Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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