Hong Kong-based charity Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), which monitors and publicises the conduct of multinational corporations in supplier factories, says that a subcontractor working on the Apple Watch is using school children working “like robots” on Chinese production lines.
The charity claims that hundreds of children from schools in southwestern China are used to assemble watches at a Quanta factory under the pressure that they would not be given their graduation certificates if they refused.
It is common practice for Chinese students to take on lengthy work experience projects as part of their studies.
Apple says it is investigating but has so far found no evidence of student interns working on its watches in three audits earlier this year.
It says it has strict standards that subcontractors must follow and zero tolerance for failure to comply.
Quanta has denied Sacom’s allegations and is working closely with Apple on the investigation.