China: Apple accused of violating labour laws as employees at iPhone factory found working 100 hours of overtime & being ‘punished’ for not meeting targets; Incl. co. comments

In September 2019, China Labor Watch released a report revealing numerous labour rights violations at the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory, the largest iPhone factory in the world. The report is based on the findings of undercover investigators employed at Zhengzhou Foxconn factory, one of whom worked there for over four years.

 Among the findings, the investigation revealed that working conditions have remained relatively unchanged over the years, with wages insufficient to support a family living in Zhengzhou, and social insurance contributions falling short of the legal requirement. The report also alleges that Foxconn has violated restrictions on overtime and dispatch workers as stipulated under Chinese labour law, highlighting the routine use of student workers and large proportions of temporary short-term dispatch workers to manage the influx of orders during peak seasons. During peak seasons, workers at Zhengzhou Foxconn reportedly worked at least 100 overtime hours a month under pressure to meet targets, exceeding the legal maximum.

In response to the findings, Apple stated it had investigated and found that the percentage of dispatched workers had 'exceeded' its standards. Foxconn also confirmed the dispatch worker violation following an operational review. Apple said they would be working with Foxconn to resolve the issue regarding dispatched workers, and stated that issues on overtime had been corrected. Further comments can be found in the articles below.

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Article
9 September 2019

China: Apple & Foxconn confirm labour law on temporary workers broken at iPhone factory

Author: Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

"Apple, Foxconn Broke a Chinese Labor Law to Build Latest iPhones", 9 September 2019

Apple Inc. and...Foxconn violated a Chinese labor rule by using too many temporary staff in the world’s largest iPhone factory, the companies confirmed following a report that also alleged harsh working conditions...

...Apple said that, after conducting an investigation, it found the “percentage of dispatch workers exceeded our standards” and that it is “working closely with Foxconn to resolve this issue.”...Foxconn Technology Group also confirmed the dispatch worker violation following an operational review...

 ...Foxconn said it found “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.”...

...The CLW report also detailed other findings, such as: During peak production periods, resignations are not approved...“We looked into the claims...and most of the allegations are false,” Apple said. “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 labor. Apple added that less than 1% of workers were student workers, and that a small percentage of them voluntarily worked overtime or night shifts. Apple and Foxconn both said this issue has been corrected...

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Article
9 September 2019

China: Apple accused of allowing factory to violate laws on overtime and temporary workers

Author: China Labor Watch

"iPhone 11 Illegally Produced in China: Apple Allows Supplier Factory Foxconn to Violate Labor Laws ", 8 September 2019

China Labor Watch has monitored the working conditions at…Foxconn facilities and investigations have revealed a string of labor rights violations…this report reveals…details about the…conditions at the [Zhengzhou] Foxconn factory...

...the working conditions have remained…, insufficient to sustain the livelihood for a family living in Zhengzhou... social insurance contributions…still fall short of the legal requirements...

...To manage the…orders during peak season, Foxconn employs student workers and dispatch workers. Student workers have been forced to work overtime hours, completing internships at the factory that are unrelated to their degree. Foxconn outsources hiring to dispatch companies and to attract workers, these companies offered bonuses for workers who are employed for a certain period of time...many workers have reported never been paid their bonus. The factory’s internal references program is another tactic used to hire more workers…Workers are given referral quotas to meet, and the factory takes away the overtime hours of those who do not fulfill the quota as a…punishment.

Chinese labor law stipulates “dispatch workers shall not exceed 10% of the total employed workers.” and “…monthly overtime work hours shall not exceed 36 hours.” …Apple and its supplier Foxconn…do not implement these regulations...the percentage of dispatch workers at the factory now makes up 50% or more of the workforce…

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Article
9 September 2019

China: Apple responds to allegations of iPhone factory violating Chinese labour laws

Author: William Gallagher, Apple Insider

"Apple says Foxconn uses too many temporary iPhone workers", 9 September 2019

Apple has confirmed a claim that its major iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has employed too many temporary staff. The country's laws specify that temporary staff...cannot exceed 10% of a company's total workforce. However, Foxconn reportedly had up to 50%...

...While not addressing whether this constitutes breaking Chinese laws, Apple said that it had investigated the issue and concluded that it "exceeded our standards." Apple further said that it was working with Foxconn to "immediately resolve the issue" of temporary staff. And regarding the overtime working conditions, the company said that "this issue has been corrected."

Foxconn said that it was addressing all issues. "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," continued Foxconn in a statement...

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