Apple and Foxconn Accused of Breaching Chinese Labor Laws

Yolanda Curtis
September 12, 2019

USA tech giant Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn have admitted to violating Chinese labour laws at a factory that produces half the world's iPhones. The investigations revealed that temporary staff, also called dispatch workers, had made up around 50% of the workforce in the month of August.

Under China's labour laws, temporary workers can only make up a maximum of 10 percent of any given company's workforce.

In a statement, Apple said it investigated the percentage of temporary workers among the overall workforce and found it "exceeded our standards". It said that it has been able to uncover several other alleged violations of labor rights by Apple partners before.

"At no time did we find any evidence of forced labour and we can confirm that this facility now has no interns working overtime", the statement said.

Apple and its partner, Foxconn, is now under scrutiny due to their practices in making the latest iPhone 11.

The company is working with Foxconn to "immediately resolve the issue", it was quoted as saying in a statement. China Labor Watch's report claimed that these and other findings violated Apple's own code of conduct.

The advocacy group also said that student interns work busy periods, with some working 100 overtime hours per month, far exceeding the legal limit of 36 overtime hours monthly. Foxconn says that overtime is voluntary, however. "Apple has the responsibility and capacity to make fundamental improvements to the working conditions along its supply chain, however, Apple is now transferring costs from the trade war through their suppliers to workers and profiting from the exploitation of Chinese workers".

Earlier this year, media reports said Apple was considering moving some operations out of China to avoid new US tariffs, with Japan's Nikkei Asian Review in June putting the figure at 15% to 30% of production. In addition, Foxconn commented, "Our work to address the issues identified in our Zhengzhou facility continues".

The report also pointed to an overwork trouble at the manufacturing unit.

Apple confirmed that it had found some employees "working for more consecutive days than our standards allow", and Foxconn said that "the number of hours of overtime work carried out by employees, which we have confirmed was always voluntary, was not consistent with company guidelines".

In Apple's most recent report, the organization said it led in excess of 44,000 meetings in 2018 with representatives of providers to guarantee they got preparing and knew about legitimate channels to voice concerns.

Apparently, Foxconn workers were often hired temporarily were not well rewarded for their work, were not getting bonuses, and were often working overtime, according to a report.

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