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Apple shareholders greeted with human rights protest

posted 23 Feb 2012, 16:05 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 23 Feb 2012, 16:06 ]

Protesters gather outside Apple headquarters before annual shareholders meeting, decrying the workplace conditions of the company's outsourcing factories.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 23, 2012) (REUTERS) - A handful of protesters gathered outside the Apple shareholders meeting on Thursday (February 23) in Cupertino, California. The protesters were holding up small placards urging Apple to make an "ethical" iPhone. On its part, the company has been trying to direct the spotlight to its efforts to urge partners to treat their employees better.

Protesters waved signs with the company logo and chanted for an "ethical" iPhone.

Mary Williams, who was on the street in Cupertino, made it clear why she was protesting.

"I'm an Apple user and I feel that it's my responsibility to make sure that the company that I support also supports good labor practices," said Williams.

Recent moves include inviting independent scrutiny of conditions at its biggest production partner Foxconn in southern China, where a rash of worker suicides put Apple's supply chain under a microscope.

It also unveiled the results of labor-audits at over 100 of its suppliers and allowed TV cameras onto Foxconn's infamously closely guarded facilities.

No shareholder broached allegations of labor abuse or China on Thursday.

Thursday's shareholder meeting marked the first since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs and comes days after Apple stock touched a lifetime high of $526.29, cementing its ranking as the most valuable U.S. company with over $450 billion in market capitalization.