Apple And Foxconn Blasted For Violating Chinese Labor Laws On Eve Of iPhone Launch

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A scathing report by China Labor Watch (CLW) outlines an alleged "string of labor rights violations" at Foxconn (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision) in relation to the production of Apple iPhone handsets. The disconcerting report arrives just as Apple is getting ready to launch a new line of flagship iPhone devices.

CLW's latest report focuses on the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory in China. This location has been dubbed "iPhone City" because it the largest iPhone factory in the world, spanning 1.4 million square meters. Over half of all iPhones sold worldwide come from there.

"Our recent findings on working conditions at Zhengzhou Foxconn highlights several issues which are in violation of Apple’s own code of conduct. Apple has the responsibility and capacity to make fundamental improvements to the working conditions along its supply chain, however, Apple is now transferring costs from the trade war through their suppliers to workers and profiting from the exploitation of Chinese workers," CLW states.

According to the report, in 2018 dispatch workers made up 55 percent of the workforce at Foxconn. That number fell slightly to 50 percent in August of this year, but is still well above what Chinese labor law stipulates as the maximum allowable, which is 10 percent. Dispatch workers are essentially temporary staff that do not receive certain benefits.

The report also alleges overtime violations. According to the report, workers at Zhengzhou Foxocnn put in at least 100 overtime hours a month during peak production seasons. That is nearly three times higher than the 36 overtime hours allowed by Chinese labor law. In addition, CLW says there have been periods where workers have one day of rest for every 13 days worked, and sometimes a single rest day for an entire month of work.

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.

This is not the first time that Apple and Foxconn have come under fire for abhorrent working conditions related to the production of iPhone handsets (and other gadgets).  According to Bloomberg, both companies admitted to certain working violations, with Apple saying it is "working closely with Foxconn" to resolve the specific issue of using too many dispatch workers.

"We believe everyone in our supply chain should be treated with dignity and respect. To make sure our high standards are being adhered to, we have robust management systems in place beginning with training on workplace rights, on-site worker interviews, anonymous grievance channels and ongoing audits," Apple added.

At the same time, Apple reportedly took issue with some of the findings, such as those pertaining to overtime hours and related compensation.

Apple is set to announce new hardware on Tuesday, September 10, at the Steve Jobs Theater. At minimum, it is expected Apple will unveil three new iPhone models. A new generation of Apple Watch devices is also possible.
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