15-Year-Old Worker Dies At iPhone 5c Factory

iPhone 5c worker dies at factory

One of Apple’s product manufacturers is in the news again for possible workers’ rights violations — and this time it’s not Foxconn.

Instead, the company being investigated is Taiwanese manufacturing firm Pegatron, which earlier this year undercut Foxconn to “steal” a number of Apple assembly orders.

Apple is being called on to investigate the deaths of several workers at the Shanghai factory — one of whom was a 15-year-old who died of pneumonia after working on the iPhone 5c production line for just one month.

A Pegatron spokeswoman declined to specify the exact number of deaths at the factory, although it is thought that all the individuals worked in different departments. “We are paying attention to the working conditions,” the spokeswoman said, noting that the factory managers and local authorities have found no problems with the working or living conditions.

New York-based China Labor Watch has meanwhile released a statement calling for more information.

“While [15-year-old Shi Zhaokun] worked at Pegatron making Apple products, the factory demanded workers to work for 12 hours each day. In addition, workers could only switch between night and day shifts once every three month. They were even required to work during the Chinese National Day holiday period.”

Chinese labor laws prohibit factories from hiring workers under the age of 16, although Zhaokun is alleged to have presented false identity documents indicating that he was older.

China Labor Watch is asking for donations to help Zhaokun’s family pay for an autopsy of his body.

Apple has not yet issued a statement.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Apple Revolution, published by Random House, and is currently writing a book about algorithms for Random House/Penguin to be published in 2014. He also covers the digital humanities for Fast Company. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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