1,000 Workers At Apple’s Keyboard Supplier in Shenzhen Walk Out In Protest

1,000 Workers At Apple’s Keyboard Supplier in Shenzhen Walk Out In Protest

1,000 workers at a Jingmo Electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, staged a strike earlier this week over long hours and poor working conditions. The factory supplies keyboards to companies like IBM, LG, and Apple, and China Labor Watch is now calling for these companies to improve the working conditions for the employees at the factory, focusing specifically on Apple.

The Jingmo plant, which is owned by Jingyuan Computer Group, one of the world’s largest keyboard manufacturers in Taiwan, employs around 3,000 workers in total, roughly around 10% of which are said to be on the Apple assembly line.

Management are reportedly forcing staff to work unreasonable levels of overtime that equate to around 120 hours extra a month, according to M.I.C. Gadget:

The workers are pissed of the management’s decision to enforce nightly overtime, adding a 6 p.m.- 12 p.m nightly shift to their regular hours of 7-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. That accounts for approximately 120 hours of overtime per month!!! They were also refused the right to work this overtime on the weekends, which would have required the company to pay workers double time under Chinese Labor Law.

In addition to enforcing overtime, workers’ grievances are said to include common workplace injuries, the dismissal of older workers, a lack of benefits, and verbal abuse from managers, according to China Labor Watch, which is urging Apple in particular to take responsibility:

“China Labor Watch calls upon Apple, IBM and the other clients of this factory to assume responsibility for these workers’ dissatisfaction and work with the factory to improve the working conditions in the factory. We particularly urge Apple to take responsibility, as there are more than 300 workers working on the Apple keyboard assembly line.”

“Apart from the overtime issue, the workers said that they also had other grievances with the factory. These include the high rate of workplace injuries (there have been nearly 20 recently), mass layoffs of older workers and the lack of any benefits. Apart from these more tangible hardships, factory managers often verbally abuse and bully the workers, causing them severe emotional distress.”

Around a third of the workforce staged a strike earlier this week in protest, blocking a highway Shenzhen. The strike ended later that day after company officials promised to reduce the amount of overtime staff were forced to work.

[via 9to5Mac]

  • Just_Me_Brett

    Apple needs to do what it can to make sure these workers are treated better ASAP!

  • JunkShot

    I completely understand the reasoning to have factories in other countries.  Between the tax benefits and not dealing with all of the regulatory BS to build stuff here in the United States.  While labor costs are less in China than the Unites States, it wouldn’t make products drastically more expensive to raise wages and improve working conditions.  Most of the cost reductions comes from the tax breaks and less regulations for building factories.  I don’t think Apple should be forced to improve things, but I think they should do it because it’s just the right thing to do.

  • Chris

    Should check spelling in title Killian :)

  • Ed_Kel

    I’m waiting for at least one comment from someone passively blaming Apple for poor working conditions in China.

  • Richard Swanson

    Why did the headline say “Apple Keyboard Supplier” instead of “IBM’s Keyboard Supplier”?

  • Ed_Kel

    …….This IS an Apple fan site…..

  • Mitch Preston

    Supplier… not Suppler. Usually at the sight of the first misspelled word I skip to the next article. 

  • levifig

    Link bait much?

  • lmws

    Then just go ahead. And most of the normal people will just keep reading it.

  • Jonnz

    Your keyboards are cheap because there are people that work 120 hours of overtime for no pay. The better these people get treated, the more expensive your keyboards will become. You idealists might want to pretend you care about these poor souls, but when it comes time to open your wallets, I bet you’ll all be bitching how expensive and overpriced all these parts are, and how you’ll never buy from ____ again because it’s so expensive. What hypocrites. I personally like the idea of having access to really cheap technology, even if it means someone on the other end is getting boned. Such is life.

  • KD

    More power to the workers, I say—I’m hoping that Apple do something about it soon, as they have in the past.

  • blendergasket

    How far would you take this? Should the govt brutally put these protests down so you can have your cheap tech? Maybe if they found the organizers, raped their wives/husbands and flayed them alive, hanging their skinless bodies in the town square no one would have the audacity to demand better conditions anymore. How much of other people’s suffering is your cheap tech worth to you? This era of cheap shit is coming to an end. It’s always been based on false exchange ratios and overpowerful governments enforcing dangerous, inhuman conditions.

  • Steven Zahl

    Bring the jobs back to the USA

  • Steven Zahl

    Bring the jobs back to the USA

  • Bob Forsberg

    China Labor Watcher should focus on Jingmo. Customers of these factories like Apple and IBM  should not involve themselves in a suppliers internal affairs, unless they’re nosy socialists.

  • Alex

    Its sort of like making sausage …most Apple fanboys would rather not think about how and and under what conditions there various iToys are made ..

  • Alex

    Its sort of like making sausage …most Apple fanboys would rather not think about how and and under what conditions there various iToys are made ..

  • Alex

    oops I relied to the wrong comment 

  • Scallion

    Your Mac Crap runs on blood. Chinese workers in other plants who manufacture parts for Apple have freaking died from overwork. All so you can get the latest trinket. And let’s not forget the African kids who crawl on their bellies in tiny tunnels to mine the materials that go into your latest Mac/ithing.
    Is this slightly hypocritical of me? Yes. But isn’t it disgusting how inescapable it is?Are all of the cats on this site and elsewhere who defend crappy labor practices soulless bastards who deserve to rot with you-know-who?Totes.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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