Budget iPhone Revealed in Labor Complaint

Budget iPhone is called "iPhone 5C"?

Budget iPhone is called "iPhone 5C"?

Further proof of Apple’s budget iPhone appears in unlikely sources. The first is through a photo leak from a Chinese rumor site; the other one from a report from a labor watchdog group.

A member of a Chinese forum called Weiphone has posted a photo featuring a pile of plastic boxes wherein one of its sides has the words “iPhone 5C” printed on it. It remains unclear what the boxes are for, since they are too deep to be made into a smartphone’s plastic case. Some speculate that thse boxes h be part of the budget iPhone’s packaging, others shrug off the photo as a probable hoax.

An even more definitive proof of the existence of a budget iPhone comes from a report by China Labor Watch, which accuses Apple’s supplier Pegatron of a number of worker abuses ranging from safety violations to excessive overtime.

But part of the 62-page report describes Pegatron as responsible for assembling Apple products including “iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, i Phone 5, and low-priced plastic iPhones.”

Budget iPhone leak

The report also includes a testimony from one of Pegatron’s factory workers, who divulged that they are working on a plastic iPhone:

“Today’s work is to paste protective film on the iPhone’s plastic back cover to prevent it from being scratched on assemly lines. This iPhone model with a plastic cover will soon be released on the market by Apple. The task is pretty easy, and I was able to work independently after a five-minute instruction from a veteran employee. It took around a minute to paste protective film on one rear cover. The new cell phone has not yet been put into mass production, so quantity is not as important.”

The report also accuses Pegatron of imposing long overtime hours for its workers in Shanghai in order to churn out the budget iPhone. For six days a week, workers in Pegatron’s Shanghai factory assemble the so-called iPhone 5C (or “iPhone 6” as some rumors speculate) for almost 11-hour shifts. Twenty minutes of that shift is unpaid, while the remainder is paid at a rate of $1.50 per hour (or $268 a month) before overtime. The salary is less than half the average local monthly income of $764 and is far below the basic living wage needed to get by in one of the costliest cities in China.

The China Labor Watch has conducted the report with almost 200 interviews with workers from three of Pegatron’s factories between March and July this year. The group has found at least 86 labor rights violations across 15 categories from hiring discrimination to underage labor, from contract violations to poor working and living conditions.

In response, Apple has said in a statement that it has been in contact with the watchdog group to investigate the allegations. Pegatron CEO Jason Cheng has also stated that his company “will investigate (the allegations) fully and take immediate actions to correct any violations to Chinese labor laws and our own code of conduct.”

Source: Weiphone, China Labor Watch

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