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Apple, Foxconn Admit Breaking China Labour Laws

US 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.

A new report from independent not-for-profit China Labor Watch revealed the violations a day before Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhone models.

Last month the organisation reported on the use of teen interns at a Foxconn plant producing Amazon devices.

The new report reveals Apple and Foxconn used a temporary workforce well in excess of the 10 per cent permitted under China labour laws.

According to the report, more than half of the employees at iPhone City are now temporary workers.

Investigators from China Labor Watch were employed at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, a 1.4 million square metre campus dubbed “iPhone City” that produces half of the iPhones sold around the world.

One of the investigators worked at the factory for over four years, and in their time wages didn’t rise, but pre-job safety training was halved from two days to one in 2017.

Apple and Foxconn have both admitted to hiring too many temporary workers, but deny the bulk of the other accusations contained in the report.

Apple said the amount of temporary workers “exceeded our standards” (as it did the standards of Chinese law).

Foxconn told Reuters the amount of temporary workers and overtime “was not consistent with company guidelines”, but that the overtime was always voluntary.

China Labor Watch said workers at the plant considered overtime as a benefit due to the increase in their hourly rate, helping boost their regular rate of $1.68, which hasn’t increased since August 2015.

China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang said the two companies knew they were violating labour laws, but haven’t addressed the issue “because it is profitable to hire dispatch workers”.

“They have allowed these violations to continue over the years.”

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