China: Workers protest lack of information regarding alleged deaths due to toxic exposure at Wintek factory, believed to be Apple supplier

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22 February 2010

Workers at Chinese mobile phone supplier poisoned by cleaning chemical

Author: Tania Branigan, Guardian [UK]

Workers at a Chinese factory [Wintek] that makes parts for mobile phone companies…have been in hospital for months after being poisoned by a chemical used in production…The owner of the plant says it stopped using the screen-cleaner n-hexane…last year after 47 workers were taken ill…A spokesman for Wintek said…that the company had paid the workers' medical bills…topped up with food and nutrition supplements amounting to more than their usual wage. In a statement, Nokia…said: "We became aware of the allegations regarding the use of n-hexane in July 2009 and started our investigation immediately. Although it was confirmed that the n-hexane was not used on our production lines at the supplier…we agreed on a development plan for health and safety management at …[the] factory and a series of corrective measures have been taken…"…A spokesperson for Apple confirmed that the company had received the Guardian's email queries, but no response was forthcoming…

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26 January 2010

Apple news: Workers' rights the focus again [China]

Author: Kathleen E. McLaughlin, Global Post

Workers at a Chinese factory believed to make electronic components for tech giants like Apple and Nokia are back on the job after a violent strike to protest what they believe was deadly on-the-job exposure to toxic chemicals...Protesters said they believe four co-workers died from exposure to a toxic chemical...Neither Wintek, which is based in Taiwan, nor Apple, responded to requests for comment...Wintek’s refusal to address the toxins issue seemed to feed the factory rumor mill.... “We heard a girl died in a strange manner from chemicals at the Suzhou factory, but we weren’t allowed to talk about it,” said an employee of the Dongguan factory...“They said anyone who talked about it would be fired.”... Workers at subcontracting factories...often don’t know who they’re making parts for, and typically have no means to complain to...brands about labor violations.

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