The promised to be a premiere full of fans and buyers looking to get the new iSlave6 has been brought into reality by the protest of several members of the NGO Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, popularly known as SACOM.
Protesters of that organization have come to the premiere of the phone on the Apple store in Hong Kong to protest against the working conditions of Apple employees.
The protest has achieved its objectives as SACOM activists have hung a banner on which was written the name “iSlave 6″, referring to the working conditions endured by workers in the factories that produce the smartphone Apple.
At least 13 workers in their late teens and early 20s have been diagnosed with leukemia after falling sick at the massive factory in Shenzhen since 2010 where about two million iPhones a week are made by an army of 230,000 migrant workers from across China. Five have died – and at ages when doctors say cases of the blood cancer are rare.
Families and a labour welfare group believe the leukemia was caused by exposure to chemicals used to clean electrical panels and say many more workers could have been affected. Families of the victims said workers regularly used chemicals with only disposable plastic gloves and face masks for protection, were given little or no information about the potential dangers, and were not told which substances they were handling.
They add that young workers who fall sick with leukemia are dismissed and denied continuing medical coverage, bankrupting families as they desperately pay for treatment.
Details of the leukemia cluster emerged after Apple last month announced it was banning the use of two potentially toxic chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in the final assembly of iPhones and iPads that has been in use at the Shenzhen plant since 2007.
To coincide with this act of protest, SACOM released a new report that revealed the findings of their latest research in three factories that supply products for the iPhone 6.
Among the allegations in the report, SACOM highlights the lack of ANY days off over a period of up to 10 weeks, during which the workload was between 12 and 15 hours and in some cases up to 17-18 hours.
They also ensure that workers who are in jobs that may pose health risks are not offered protective equipment, there are complications when a worker wants to leave the company and they are forced to give up part of their salary.
Finally, detected that despite Chinese laws that prevent companies from having more than 10% of its work force as temporary workers, the factories did not meet that point, a practice with which to pay social security benefits were saved.