Labour report alleges violations by China iPhone supplier

Apple, Foxconn caught breaking Chinese labor laws while making iPhones

Apple, Foxconn caught breaking Chinese labor laws while making iPhones

The labor report comes as tensions between the USA and China have threatened to upend supply chains across the technology industry with tit-for-tat import tariffs.

Apple has acknowledged that one of its supplier's factories in China violated some of its rules on working conditions, and says it's trying to correct those infractions.

The report said that a year ago, 55% of the workforce were dispatch workers including student interns, compared with 50% this August.

Apple confirmed it will launch its iPhone 11 model on September 10 for a start price of around $1,2000, according to The Inquirer. CLW also noted that many workers said they never received bonuses they were promised for agreeing to work "for a certain period of time".

The company said it was gradually adjusting the number and the ratio of dispatch workers to comply with the requirements of China's laws. "There have been intervals exactly where employees have one relaxation day for each 13 days labored or even have only a single rest working day for a month". The investigation also showed that some workers put in at least 100 overtime hours each month, while Chinese labor law limits monthly overtime to 36 hours.

On Apple's end, the company assures the quality of the employment and treatment to its workers. Foxconn seemingly hires thousands of dispatch workers to speed up production and gradually meet the demand for iPhones in the holiday season every year.

"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. In 2010, a spate of suicides at Chinese factories owned by Foxconn - a Taiwanese electronics maker and longtime Apple partner - thrust both companies into the spotlight. Dispatch workers are essentially temporary staff that do not receive certain benefits. This location has been dubbed "iPhone City" because it the largest iPhone factory in the world, spanning 1.4 million square meters. "The factories do not take care of the bonus", said the hiring manager, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

CLW's list of alleged violations is rather long and includes things like work injuries going unreported, verbal abuse being "common at the factory", a lack of fire safety training, workers sometimes not being paid for overtime hours, unsafe working conditions, and more. It is unclear whether the matter was resolved, as the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone's publicity office had not responded to Sixth Tone's questions sent by phone and email by time of publication.

We did find during our investigation that the percentage of dispatch workers exceeded our standards and we are working closely with Foxconn to resolve this issue.