Apple has conceded that its largest iPhone manufacturing plant broke Chinese labour laws relating to the use of temporary staff.
Run by Apple’s local manufacturing partner Foxconn, the facility in Zhengzhou - Apple’s largest globally - was investigated in secret by China Labor Watch, a non-profit advocacy group headquartered in the US.
The group found that for the month of August 2019, 50% of the facility’s staff consisted of dispatch (temporary) workers. Under China’s labour laws, no more than 10% of any workforce should be made up of dispatch workers.
Apple issued a statement in response in which it confirmed that it had carried out its own investigation and found that the proportion of temporary staff “exceeded our standards” and that it would cooperate with Foxconn to bring the facility in line with Chinese labour laws.
Foxconn stated that the glut of temporary workers at the factory was “not consistent with company guidelines”. Apple’s investigation also found that the plant had breached the company’s own code of conduct by allowing interns to work overtime, and noted that it had rectified this error.
However, China Labor Watch claimed that its investigation found that the facility violated a number of additional laws, noting that some temporary workers were not awarded bonus payment that had been promised to them and that the plant had failed to provide suitable protective gear for certain staff. The group also noted that despite laws in China restricting overtime to 36 hours per month, some workers were performing upwards of 100 hours of overtime monthly.
Apple has denied these claims, stating that its own investigation found that “most of the allegations are false… We confirmed all workers are being compensated appropriately, including any overtime wages and bonuses, all overtime was voluntary and there was no evidence of forced labour.”