Apple broadens its supply chain to maximize profit margins

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Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook meets with members of Apple's manufacturing team. Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly keeping its options open when it comes to selecting manufacturing partners for the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch by broadening the number of companies it contracts work out to.

In other words, those supply-and-demand issues that have hit Apple in recent years shortly after new product releases could soon be a thing of the past.

Overtime got worse for Apple’s supply chain workers in 2014

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Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple
Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple

Apple has been getting tougher and tougher on its supply chain. Just yesterday, for example, Apple banned suppliers who used ‘bonded servitude’ as a way to keep workers on assembly lines. Overall, under Tim Cook’s conscientious leadership, conditions just continue to improve for the employees who make our iPhones and iPads.

But there is one way in which conditions have gotten worse for Apple’s supply chain employees. Although Apple limits factory workers to a 60-hour-work week, more supply chain workers went over that amount in 2014 than in 2013. But don’t start pulling your knives out just yet.

BBC shines spotlight back on Apple’s poor working conditions in Asia

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

In a documentary set to air tonight called Apple’s Broken Promises, BBC One went undercover at Pegatron, one of Apple’s main supply chain partners in China. The findings from inside Pegatron’s walls show that “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken,” according to the report.

Another alarming revelation was that Apple could be using tin dug by impoverished children in illegal Indonesian mines. Apple is denying the allegations, but BBC One is committed to unearthing a sensitive topic the iPhone maker has spent years trying to put to rest.

Excessive overtime and poor safety accusations aimed at Apple supplier

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Supplier Responsibility Progress Report
A worker in Apple's Chinese supply chain.

Another Apple supplier is facing accusations concerning violations of labor rights and lapses in workplace safety.

The supplier in question is Taiwanese company Catcher Technology, which produces the metal casings for iPads as well as parts for the iPhone, plus components for other tech companies. The allegations concern a factory in the Chinese city of Suqian.

Among the accusations raised in a Thursday report by environmental nonprofit Green America and workers’ rights group China Labor Watch are the fact that employees are made to work excessive overtime hours, and handle toxic chemicals without the proper protective clothing.