A Hong Kong-based NGO has protested against Apple supplier “labour abuses” as the tech giant releases its latest iPhone.

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) and international activists protested on Friday morning at the Apple store in Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, as part of a global day of action.

Photo: SACOM.

SACOM has been monitoring labour rights in the Apple supply chain in China for years.

They displayed a large banner that read “iSlave at X,” referring to the new product – iPhone X – and the tenth anniversary of the phone’s introduction.

Photo: SACOM.

SACOM accused Apple’s suppliers of conducting corrupt trade union elections.

“Workers were forced to vote [for an] assigned candidate with open ballot. The union also suppressed workers demand[s] when labour disputes happens,” it said.

It said Apple manufacturers are found to use student interns as young as 16-years-old to replace regular workers at a large scale: “The students are mostly in irrelevant major[s] and they are not allowed to graduate if they refuse to work.”

SACOM also said workers’ basic wages have barely risen since 2012, whilst inflation during the same period was high: “Workers have no choice but to work excessive overtime for a living.”

Photo: SACOM.

The activists demanded Apple guarantee full trade union rights for all workers, stop using temporary and student labours, and double the basic wage for workers so that they can make a reasonable living.

Apple did not respond to HKFP’s request for comment.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.