In an almost too predictable pattern, Apple's brand new supplier, Pegatron, is committing some very familiar labor violations because a plant that overworks and underpays is cheaper for Apple. A new report from non-profit and notable Apple-watcher China Labor Rights alleges that the iPad Mini and iPhone producer withholds worker pay, provides poor living conditions, and commits various other environmental and safety violations, reports The Wall Street Journal's Paul Mozor, Chao Deng, and Eva Dou. The whole thing sounds like some twisted Foxconn part deux. "Our investigations have shown that labor conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories," China Labor Watch said in a statement. But what makes it "even worse" than Foxconn is that Apple has decided it likes cheap labor.
Back in May Apple shifted a chunk of its work from Foxconn to this new plant because it was cheaper to do so. But, Foxconn's financial demands had increased, in part, because of the improved labor conditions that Apple insisted it provide its workers. Foxconn, for example, raised worker pay three separate times and improved facilities because Apple didn't like the bad PR it got because of its association with the notorious factory. The press's outrage facilitated real change, or so it seemed.