Companies such as Apple, Google and others hit by class action for suppliers’ “cruel” child labor

Apple, Google, Tesla and others have received class-action lawsuits on behalf of several plaintiffs from the Democratic Republic of Congo,media outlet Apple Insider reported. The lawsuit alleges that the technology companies deliberately hired underage labor in local cobalt mining partnerships.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named in a lawsuit accusing them of exploiting underage workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The companies are accused of knowing that the cobalt they bought for battery technology was originally mined by child labor.

“The child laborers who mined the defendant’s cobalt mine were not only forced to perform full-time, extremely dangerous mining work, but also at the expense of their academic qualifications and future,” the lawsuit said. They are often maimed and killed by cobalt mine accidents. and other known hazards common to cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “

“Cobalt is a key component of every rechargeable lithium-ion battery produced by the defendant and all other technology and electric vehicle companies in the world,” the lawsuit continues. But it has triggered the latest round of brutal exploitation by a group of greedy, corrupt and apathetic people against the powerless, hungry Congolese people. “

The lawsuit was filed in the District of Columbia on behalf of several specific plaintiffs and other plaintiffs affected by similar influences by Terrence Collingsworth, an international rights advocacy group. The lawsuit says the plaintiffs want to add other companies to the case after further study, saying they use euphemisms to promote work for minors.

” (The workers) are officially referred to as ‘manual’ miners to hide the fact that this means that they are working in a large informal sector, including young children, who go to areas where cobalt is found and use the original tools for cobalt mining without any safety equipment and without any structural support for the tunnel.” “

The lawsuit details a number of casualties that are common at work. “When tunnels collapse, miners are often injured or killed, and the bodies of people who are often trapped in the rubble can never be recovered. “The lawsuit requires the jury to try the miners’ interests and costs. It also wants the companies to provide “appropriate medical care” to the plaintiffs to “clean up the environmental impact.”

Apple has not commented publicly on the lawsuit filed Sunday, but has previously been accused by Amnesty International of doing so.

In 2016, it was claimed that several companies, including Apple, Samsung, Sony and Microsoft, were buying cobalt from producers who used the minors to extract cobalt. At the time, Apple responded that it could not determine the source of the cobalt used.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Apple said: “There has never been a tolerance for underage labor in our supply chain and we are proud to lead the industry in pioneering new safeguards. We are currently evaluating dozens of different materials, including cobalt, to identify labor and environmental risks and apple opportunities for effective, scalable and sustainable change. “

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