updated 09:59 am EST, Thu December 12, 2013
Medical experts sent to investigate
Apple has rejected claims that an underage worker's death at a Pegatron factory was due to poor working conditions. The Cupertino-based company reportedly sent its own team of medical investigators to the factory, which is said to assemble the iPhone 5c, however the experts agreed with Pegatron's assertion that the assembly line environment was not a contributing factor in the pneumonia death.
"Last month we sent independent medical experts from the U.S. and China to conduct an investigation of the (Pegatron) factory. While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones," Apple said in a statement, which was posted by Reuters.
Worker advocacy group China Labor Watch earlier this week blamed the death of 15-year-old Shi Zhaokun on working conditions at the Pegatron factory. The teenager was too young to work at the plant, though he circumvented the labor regulations by using his 21-year-old cousin's identification. His parents also claim to have found worker logs showing between 75 and 79 hours worked per week leading up to his death.
"Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards," Apple added.
China Labor Watch also cited four other recent deaths of Pegatron factory workers as further evidence of misconduct, however the supplier claims that the employees succumbed to medical conditions unrelated to their work.