Apple and Foxconn broke Chinese labor law to build latest iPhones

The labor report comes as tensions between the U.S. and China have threatened to upend supply chains across the technology industry with tit-for-tat import tariffs. The company was responding to a report from China Labor Watch that alleged the company broke local laws and its own standards to produce the iPhone 11. However, Chinese law clearly states that it can only go up to 10%.

Apple has announced that, after conducting an investigation, it found the "percentage of dispatch workers exceeded [its] standards" and that it is "working closely with Foxconn to resolve this issue".

According to the recent reports by CLW, the advocacy group revealed that undercover investigators were sent to work in China's Zhengzhou plant of Foxconn which also included one investigator who had been employed there for four years.

The latest report also claims that many employees in Zhengzhou face verbal abuse, and that the factory does not typically report work injuries. According to the report, workers at Zhengzhou Foxocnn put in at least 100 overtime hours a month during peak production seasons. Foxconn, officially referred to as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., hires tens of thousands of momentary workers to ramp up manufacturing and meet iPhone demand throughout the key holiday season annually. It has an office in New York City and one in Shenzhen that offers a hotline for factory workers in China, according to its website. CLW says that the number has now fallen from 50 percent to 30 percent, but that still violates Chinese labour laws. The US company ensured that there are no longer students working overtime.

Foxconn said it had found that the number of temporary workers was "not consistent with company guidelines".

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"We believe everyone in our supply chain should be treated with dignity and respect", the company said in a statement. This could mean that Apple is expecting sales to go up this year.

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).

Foxconn manufactures the iPhone, as well as other electronic devices for other brands.

Though dispatch workers actually make higher average hourly wages than employees, they don't receive critical benefits like unemployment insurance and pension contributions, paid sick leave, medical benefits, and paid vacation. Even if Apple is being honest in this case, some of the staff is made of student intern workers.

To attract temporary workers for repetitive, low-paying assembly line jobs, agents often promise bonuses worth several times the worker's monthly salary. The Chinese labor law grants only 10% of dispatch workers to total up the workforce.

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