Rights group alleges worker abuse at Apple partner Pegatron

Apple hardware manufacturer accused of safety violations, poor living conditions, and withholding of worker identification cards, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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A sign outside this Pegatron facility in Shanghai reads: "Our company hires employees without an extra fee." Jay Greene/CNET

An Apple hardware manufacturing partner in China is under fire for alleged labor abuses.

In a report to be released Monday, labor watchdog China Labor Watch accuses Pegatron of myriad labor abuses, including safety violations, withholding of worker identification cards, and poor living conditions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, the group reported that Pegatron plant workers' workweek regularly exceed 60 hours in violation of Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct. Workers complained of having their wages garnished by third-party labor recruiters if they didn't complete a fixed term of service, the group reportedly alleges in its report.

Apple told the Journal that it was "committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain." Apple confirmed to the paper that some of Pegatron's labor brokers were withholding worker ID cards but stated that it had demanded Pegatron "put a stop" to the practice, which prevents workers from taking jobs with other employers.

China Labor Watch is the same labor rights group that detailed poor and dangerous working conditions at Foxconn, another China-based Apple manufacturing partner. Despite a New York Times report detailing hazardous factory conditions at Foxconn, the group found in May 2012 that exhausting workloads, humiliating discipline, and cramped dormitories were still "the norm."

The new allegations come as Apple is reportedly reducing its dependence on Foxconn by throwing more business toward Pegatron, which already makes some iPhones and iPad Minis. Pegatrong has reportedly been chosen to be the primary assembler of a low-cost iPhone expected to be unveiled later this year.