Apple and Foxconn admit to Chinese labor law violations

Foxconn is based in Taipei

The China Labor Watch (CLW), a non-profit advocacy group which investigates conditions in Chinese factories, said it has uncovered new alleged labor rights violations by Apple partners, said Bloomberg.

The CLW report revealed that several of its investigators were employed at Hon Hai's Zhengzhou Foxconn factory, and one of the investigators worked for Foxconn for more than four years, adding that due to the long investigation period, the report was able to learn many details about the working and living conditions at the factory in Henan province. The CLW found out that Apple's Chinese temporary workers comprise of 50 percent of its workforce which oversteps the limit of 10 percent. The investigation found that temporary staff, known as dispatch workers, accounted for almost 50 percent of the workforce in August, while Chinese labor law stipulates a maximum of 10 percent, CLW said.

"We believe everyone in our supply chain should be treated with dignity and respect", Apple said in a statement.

"We have confirmed all workers are being compensated appropriately, including any overtime wages and bonuses, all overtime work was voluntary and there was no evidence of forced labour", Lori Lodes, an Apple spokeswoman told the Washington Post.

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It looks as if Foxconn is having a hard time fulfilling Apple's iPhone 11 orders. "We are working intimately with Foxconn to determine this", the organization said.

The China Labor Watch report stated that student workers had been pushed to work overtime, "completing internships at the factory that are unrelated to their degree". In off-peak season, workers produce around 3,000 iPhones, and despite the production quota being much lower than in peak season, there are also fewer workers. Foxconn said some dispatch employees carried out overtime work for which they were paid, and while it was "always voluntary", it is not consistent with company rules. This could mean that Apple is expecting sales to go up this year.

Earlier this year, media reports said Apple was considering moving some operations out of China to avoid new USA tariffs, with Japan's Nikkei Asian Review in June putting the figure at 15 to 30 percent of production. China's labor law stipulates that a worker's monthly overtime should not exceed 36 hours. Foxconn Technology Group additionally confirmed the dispatch employee violation following an operational overview. And while Apple and Foxconn's use of temporary workers is getting all the headlines, there's one interesting little fact buried in the report. Regular employees are reportedly not allowed to resign from the Foxconn factory during peak season.

Apple responded to the report in a Monday statement, saying "most of the allegations" in the CLW report "are false".

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