Apple, Tech Partner Say They Did Not Violate China's Labor Laws

FOXCONN
FILE PHOTO: The Foxconn company logo is seen at the facility in the Racine County town of Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, U.S., April 28, 2019.
(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD)

Apple Inc (AAPL) and its manufacturing ally Foxconn denied violating any Chinese labor policy, as what was reported last Monday. But Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported the two tech giants confirmed the accusations.

Non-profit monitoring agency China Labor Watch released a report that found over 50 percent of the employees working in Zhengzhou in China were on a contract basis.

The New York-headquartered CLW reported that this personnel hired on a temporary contract in August includes student interns and other undergraduates working at the biggest iPhone facility in the metropolis on the Yellow River in China's Henan province. 

Under the country's labor law, facilities like Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant are licensed to operate on one condition: it must not hire more than 10 percent of its workers on a temporary basis for the month of August this year, CLW said.

In September, most of the interns quit their temporary jobs to finish their studies. This cut down the number of contractual to 30 percent, which was still bigger than what China's labor regulations allow, CLW disclosed.

Apple has been consistent when it comes to transparency with regards to company policies and practices for labor issues, including goals it aims to achieve and locations it wants to improve. But according to CLW, these and other findings went against the tech company's own ethics and standards.

In a statement, Apple said that "most of the allegations (by CLW) are false," adding that its employees are being paid fairly, which includes overtime wages and bonuses. "There was no proof of forced labor," Apple pointed out.

Foxconn and its employees, on the other hand, has been the subject of controversies and allegations in recent months. For instance, the company terminated two executives after the Chinese watchdog found out they overused the number of workers allowed by Chinese labor laws. The workers were making Echo speakers for a top client, Amazon.

Based on the CLW findings, the Chinese workers were paid a base salary of $295 (2,100 yuan), which is not enough "to sustain a family living in Zhengzhou City." In its own investigation, Apple disclosed that they are "working closely with Foxconn to resolve the matter."

The American multinational tech company has faced many criticisms lately because of its "poor working conditions." The iPhone maker, for its part, has pushed its local partners in China to improve labor practices if they want to keep their business partnership moving forward.

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