Apple, Foxconn admit to over-reliance on temp workers in China

Apple, Foxconn caught breaking Chinese labor laws while making iPhones

Tech giant Apple Inc and Foxconn, its manufacturing partner reportedly confirmed that they violated a labor rule laid down by China by having used too many temporary staff in the largest iPhone factory in the world, following the reports of its alleged harsh working conditions. Workers earn roughly $1.68 U.S. per hour standard and $2.52 United States per hour for overtime, a wage, "insufficient to sustain the livelihood for a family living in Zhengzhou city", says China Labor Watch. Over half of all iPhones sold worldwide come from there.

"We looked into the claims by China Labor Watch and most of the allegations are false", Apple said.

"At no time did we find any evidence of forced labour and we can confirm that this facility now has no interns working overtime", they stated for AFP.

Foxconn told CNN Business that its review of operations in Zhengzhou found "some workforce compliance issues" but did not find "any evidence of forced labor". Student workers have been forced to work overtime hours, completing internships at the factory that are unrelated to their degree.

"Apple is now transferring costs from the trade war through their suppliers to workers and profiting from the exploitation of Chinese workers", the China Labour Watch report said. It added that less than 1% of workers were teenage interns. Apple and Foxconn both said this issue has been corrected. They were quick to identify that some of the employees hired "temporarily" spend more than 4 years working in the factory.

The biggest issue stated in the report that 50% of Foxconn's workforce is made up of temporary labor while the Chinese law says it can only go up to 10%.

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Apple and Foxconn seek to supply about 12,000 iPhones per shift on the Zhengzhou manufacturing unit, CLW's newest report discovered.

For its newest report, CLW mentioned undercover investigators worked in Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant in China, together with one who was employed there for four years. According to the report, workers at Zhengzhou Foxocnn put in at least 100 overtime hours a month during peak production seasons. By recruiting these laborers, "the factory does not need to increase the wages for all regular workers", it said.

Apple acknowledged the percentage of dispatch employees exceeds the limit and it is "working closely with Foxconn to resolve this".

In August 2018, dispatch workers even accounted for 55 percent of the total workforce at the Zhengzhou complex, the CLW report said.

"We did find evidence that the use of dispatch workers and the number of hours of overtime work carried out by employees, which we have confirmed was always voluntary, was not consistent with company guidelines", Foxconn said.

"We believe everyone in our supply chain should be treated with dignity and respect".

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