In a heated email obtained by a British newspaper, Apple executives disputed claims made in a recent undercover BBC documentary that work rules for Chinese iPhone factory workers are still being widely abused.
Earlier this week, BBC’s Panorama investigative TV program broadcast footage that appeared to show overly tired workers falling asleep on the assembly line, bosses ignoring rules related to ID cards, and employees being forced to agree to conditions that violate Apple’s rules for suppliers.
Reporters for the BBC got jobs in the factories where they worked undercover while wearing video cameras.
The Telegraph newspaper today published a leaked email written by Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations, that was sent to employees in the UK. In the email, Williams said he and Apple chief executive Tim Cook were “deeply offended” by the accusation that the company was not living up to its promises.
“Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions,” Williams wrote. “Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Following widespread allegations of abuses a couple of years ago, Apple vowed to crack down on workplace and environmental abuses and invited third parties to audit and investigate its supply chain and manufacturers of its products. Apple also regularly issues a report on its supply chain, and acknowledges that problems such as child remain.
However, in his note, Williams insisted that no company was doing more to improve conditions and address abuses than Apple.
“The reality is that we find violations in every audit we have ever performed, no matter how sophisticated the company we’re auditing,” Williams wrote. “We find problems, we drive improvement, and then we raise the bar.
Here is a three-minute segment from the BBC report:
Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.