The fruity cargo cult Apple has sent a team of doctors to find out how one of its contractors managed to let a 15 year-old employee work for them and then somehow let him die of pneumonia.
Given that a 15-year-old is supposed to be at home playing with tablets rather than making them means that the Pegatron Shanghai factory was breaking the law hiring him in the first place. But the fact he croaked of pneumonia making some Apple fanboy happy is fairly Dickensian.
Apple insists that its products are not made in sweatshops, particularly after a rash of employee suicides at supplier Foxconn in 2010. Last year, it commissioned the Fair Labor Association to investigate suppliers’ factories.
This time Apple said that Pegatron had assured it that it had found no evidence of any link to working conditions at the plant which contributed to the kid’s death.
“We realise that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones,” Apple said in a statement.
“Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards,” the statement added.
To be fair to Pegatron the kid should not have been working there. He used his 21 year old cousin’s identification to apply for the job, so the factory did not know he was underage, said Pegatron spokesman Charles Lin.
“Pegatron has strict measures in place to verify workers’ ages before and after they are hired, and we work with health and safety experts to provide a safe working environment for each and every worker,” the statement said.
Pneumonia is not something you can catch from an assembly line environment so was probably not connected to where they work.
The three other employee deaths this year, in March and April, were caused by various medical conditions unrelated to work at the factory.
However, China Labor Watch, a New York-based labour rights group, said the worker’s pre-employment physical examination on September 4 showed he was in good health so he became sick after working at the plant.