Tim Cook 'Deeply Offended' by BBC Documentary on Apple Factory Conditions

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is deeply offended by allegations that Apple permits the mistreatment of workers in its supplier factories and mines, reports The Telegraph. The accusations were levied by the BBC news program Panorama, which sent undercover reporters to work in Chinese factories and Indonesian mines. The BBC aired the documentary titled "Apple's Broken Promises" last night on its BBC One channel.

    Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams relayed Tim Cook's message in an email sent to its UK staff. Cook and Williams both stated they were "deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way."
    Williams also implied in the email that Apple provided the BBC with pertinent facts regarding the company's commitment to its workers worldwide, but that information was not included in the documentary.

    The BBC report claims that Chinese workers were forced to work long hours assembling Apple devices and denied requests for a day off, even after working 18 days in a row. The BBC also uncovered issues with off-hour work meetings, underage workers and other violations with dormitories and ID cards.

    The BBC also investigated tin mines in Indonesia, where it found children mining the ore in dangerous conditions. The BBC claims this tin makes its way into Apple's supply chain without the company's knowledge.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Tim Cook 'Deeply Offended' by BBC Documentary on Apple Factory Conditions
  2. Amacfa, Dec 19, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014

    Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    Yet any cell phone you buy that isn't Apple most likely has the same, or more likely - worse working conditions.

    The difference is Apple is one of the very few companies doing something about it.

    Edit: here's the official email:

  3. markfc macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Prestatyn, Wales, UK
    In other news UK Apple prices rose by 15% today...
  4. OrangeInc macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2013
    I don't think this is a problem specific to Apple but of most big corporations. The only thing I find annoying is when Apple acts like it's any different than any other big corporation making tons of profit. Profit can only be made at the expense of others.
  5. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    I've not really followed this too much, but I get that Apple uses Foxconn who have poor working conditions.

    As a consumer, what annoys me is that, when paying a premium for a product, I'd like to think that the extra cash works its way down the line so that people are better paid (both within Apple and outside of it), materials are ethically sourced etc.

    If I was paying £200 for a laptop, I wouldn't be surprised that workers were underpaid, the unit was badly made, the materials purchased from companies that also pay their workers badly etc. (which is why I don't buy cheap goods)

    But Apple are amongst, or even the, most expensive computers and gadgets out there. It's such a shame that even paying through the nose for your computer doesn't guarantee an ehtical machine is what you recieve.
  6. Intelligent macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2013
  7. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    I don't think this is strictly true. A company can still make a profit whilst paying its staff an acceptable wage.
  8. designaholic macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    Man up Cook. Clearly you are not doing enough.
  9. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    It definitely does.
  10. mac1984user macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Given that each corporation, the BBC and Apple, are in it for profit, I tend to distrust the motivations of both. So real conditions are probably more convoluted and exploitative than either makes out.
  11. craig1410 macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2007
    This is nothing but a hatchet job by the BBC. Very disappointing.

    Anyone who follows the industry knows how seriously Apple take their responsibility for supply chain workers. I hope that Tim Cook responds directly to this and puts the record straight because, unfortunately, there are too many people who will just take all this nonsense as fact and assume the worst.
  12. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    People like YOU are part of the problem.

    People that say things like this don't care about the truth, they only care about slamming Apple. Apple is doing the most of any company, and openly addressing the issues. All other companies are mum about this, and the media doesn't attack any other manufacturer with the venom they attack Apple. The reason is clear - say 'Samsung employees have poor working conditions', people go.... so? next story. But say it about Apple, and people read the article and are all over it.
  13. Goftrey macrumors 68000


    May 20, 2011
    Wales, UK
    The conditions in these factories are bad. Really, really bad. But I found it extremely biased to pick out and focus on Apple individually. The story's the same in pretty much every factory producing products for the tech industry.

    Of course companies (including Apple) need to do WAY more than what they're doing at the moment, but the government is also to blame. Laws need to be put in to place, otherwise businesses WILL exploit the gaps. They're businesses after all, not charities. With the number one goal to make as much money as possible.
  14. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Really? *lol*

  15. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

    May 7, 2007
    Indeed it does.

    Tim would've earned a lot of respect from me if he had instead said, "You know what, you're right. We're appalled by this too and we're going to get serious about this issue." He would've even earned a little respect if he had said, "You know what? It's not our problem, and we won't be so in-your-face about saying how ethical we are over the rest of the industry." Instead, he took the predictable path of corporate denial.

    Fail. :apple:
  16. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2003
    London, UK
    Well sending a whiny email to your employees isn't going to do anything about the problem is it?

    Usually companies would say something like "we take this information very seriously and we will be investigating within our supply chain to see how this could happen, etc". Straight out denial in the face of quite clear evidence is not going to be seen favourably.

    Yes - this will be happening with other manufacturers as well. Apple is unfortunately (in this case) at the top of the pile, and thus has the spotlight thrust upon them.

    So ... let's assume it's true, that Apple's supply chain isn't a bed of roses, and that something needs to be done. I don't think a whiny email is the way forward here. The uncomfortable truth is that when Apple NEEDS these suppliers to do so much work, that some of them, operating in a rather lax employee rights environment, will cut corners (regardless of what they told Apple, their contract with Apple, etc).

    It does seem that every nation will go through a massive hard manual labour stage in its development. China, etc, are in this stage at the moment. Hopefully the result will be a set of working regulations and laws that match those in the west.
  17. Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    If you look at the email in the first post, you will see that they did say they aren't perfect, and they still have work to do.

    Tim didn't even say that, it was someone else speaking on his behalf.
  18. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yep, I watched this documentary yesterday and a lot of it was quite deceitful with painting Apple in a bad light. For instance, they went right down to the supply chain for the tin -- where there were little kids digging for it, and then said 'and these are the sort of conditions which make your iPhone'.

    So the people who get the tin send it to a plant, who then sell it on, then that company sells it to another, and then another, and then another, and then it goes to Foxconn, etc ... They also didn't really mention that practically every other OEM uses Foxconn.

    And to go right down to the bottom of the supply chain and say this reflects badly on Apple is frankly absurd. Apple obviously need to make steps but the documentary was offensive of what extreme measures they took to make Apple seem like it was actively employing children to work to the bone.
  19. Menopause macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2011
  20. Keirasplace macrumors 601

    Aug 6, 2014
    Really? "bad"... You do realize that Apple's factory probably have the best conditions in the whole of China. So, unless someone hasn't bought anything Chinese in the last 20 years, I'd expect they will hide their biased head in shame if they say Apple's factory "bad" in any way.

    Yes, it is "the white's man's burden" to condescendingly look down on how other people live people they're not yet living exactly like us. I'm guessing Africans are all slave then by that token and we should never buy anything from there ever...
  21. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Now Tim and I have something in common. I'm deeply offended by the cancellation of the tower Mac Pro and the lack of a quad-core mini.

    Most likely we will both survive.
  22. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    What horsepucky.

    Profit is like a salary. You earn it for providing value. A voluntary transaction between supplier and customer sets that value.
  23. Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    They did say this at the end of the email if you read it.

  24. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2003
    London, UK
    So tin mined by children ends up in iPhones - undisputed fact.

    But this is okay because there are some middlemen? And Apple themselves are trying to brand it "artisan tin", like some upper-middle-class fancy rustic bread product.

    Maybe Apple, who can afford it, could source their tin from elsewhere, as their efforts to make Indonesian tin mining better are clearly not really working.

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