A handful of protesters stormed Apple’s Sydney city store this morning demanding the consumer giant address concerns of worker abuse in its Chinese manufacturing factories.
The protesters, who were also Apple customers, petitioned the vendor to develop a worker protection strategy in response to reports of abuse in its China-based supplier factories, including the infamous Foxconn.
The petition had more than 250,000 signatures gained from online campaigns.
Protest leader Sally Hill told CRN that Apple needed to take responsibility for workers' rights.
“We’re concerned Apple users. We aren’t Apple haters, we are huge fans of their products,” Hill said. “We want them to produce an ethical iPhone 5, one that hasn’t been made with workers' rights being abused.”
Foxconn has 13 factories across nine Chinese cities, and is used by most large technology companies, including IBM, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and major Apple rival HP.
Hill said the protesters' current target was Apple but the group may take on other Foxconn clients if the Apple protest is deemed successful.
Foxconn and its Chinese factories have been mired in controversy for several years due to allegations of poor working conditions, abuse, injury and worker suicides. In 2011 Apple, HP and Dell teamed up to investigate a rising number of worker suicides.
Today's Sydney protest was part of a worldwide effort targeting Apple stores in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, London and Bangalore. It was launched in Washington on change.org by Apple user Mark Shields.