BBC Panorama uncovers inhumane iPhone and iPad production working conditions

A damning report for Apple has been released by the BBC Panorama programme, using secret filming to show that promises to ensure worker safety and welfare are not being upheld.

Standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, and juvenile workers were broken in a factory in Shanghai which produces iPhones and iPads.

Pegatron, the company that was infiltrated by a reporter with a hidden camera, was found to breach many health, safety, and welfare rules almost as soon as the reporter entered into their employment.

In China, each citizen must carry an ID card with them, but the reporter’s was removed almost immediately, and it was not returned to him.

The workers did shifts of up to 16 hours long, and often had no choice but to nap in their breaks to try and get as much rest as possible. The secret filming poignantly shows a worker falling asleep while working, leaning towards active machinery.

In 2010, another iPhone factory was reported to have 14 workers commit suicide, and as a result, Apple promised to improve care for production line workers.

The reporter said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move… Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress.”

They also had to work 18 days in a row, despite repeatedly requesting a day off.

Apple turned down an interview for the Panorama show, but commented that “We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions.”

You can watch the Panorama episode on iPlayer.