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World – Foxconn responds to concerns over temp worker use at Apple iPhone factory

11 September 2019

Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s manufacturing partners, responded to a report by labour group China Labour Watch alleging that it broke Chinese law by employing too many temporary workers at its Zhengzhou Foxconn iPhone factory in China.

CLW said Chinese law stipulates that temporary workers shall not exceed 10% of total employed workers, but that the percentage of temporary workers at the Zhengzhou site was 50% in August and had been 55% in 2018.

The group made other allegations as well, including that workers’ resignations were not accepted during peak season, overtime was not paid in some cases and that student interns were required to work overtime.

In its response, Foxconn Technology Group said it uses a combination of full-time employees and temporary agency workers and that some of its locations have a short-term internship program that is done in cooperation with local governments and vocational schools. However, it said in all cases it offers a competitive salary and related benefits that significantly exceed government-mandated levels.

“We can confirm that a recent review of our operations at our facility in Zhengzhou did identify some workforce compliance issues,” according to the company. “As soon as we received the results of that review, we immediately began a detailed process to ensure that all issues were addressed. At no time did we find any evidence of forced labor and we can confirm that this facility currently has no interns working overtime.”

Foxconn also said it found that the use of temporary workers, also called dispatch workers in China, did not align with company guidelines.”

Foxconn added, “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,” according to a statement by the company. “We did determine that the affected workers were paid all earned overtime and related bonus payments.”

It also said its work aimed at addressing the issues at the Zhengzhou facility will continue.

“We will not hesitate to take any additional steps that might be required to meet the high standards we set for our operations,” Foxconn said. “Also, as a matter of company policy, we do not comment on our customers or their products.”

Apple has previously rebutted the allegations but confirmed they employed too many temporary workers.

In a statement, Apple said the “percentage of dispatch workers exceeded our standards” and that it is “working closely with Foxconn to resolve this issue.” It added that when it finds issues, it works with suppliers to “take immediate corrective action.” 

Apple has also stated that it looked into the claims by China Labour Watch and said “most of the allegations are false.”

“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 labour,” Apple stated.

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