Supply Chain

Apple Says Zhengzhou Factory Broke Labor Rules

In response to a watchdog group, the tech giant acknowledged that a supplier violated rules on working conditions to build its latest iPhones.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 9, 2019
Apple Says Zhengzhou Factory Broke Labor Rules

Apple said a factory in Zhengzhou, China, operated in violation of its rules on working conditions and that it was trying to correct the situation. 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. But Apple said it conducted its own investigation and found that “most of the allegations” in the report, “are false.”

The factory, which has been dubbed “iPhone City,” is operated by Foxconn and is the largest iPhone factory in the world.

“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 labor,” Apple said in a statement.

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The 51-page report alleged student workers had been pushed to work overtime, bonuses were unpaid, and a high percentage of temporary or “dispatch” workers were used in violation of Chinese law. It also said workers clocked at least 100 hours of overtime per month during peak production periods, far exceeding the 36 hours per month allowed under Chinese labor law.

Apple said it learned that “the percentage of dispatch workers exceeded our standards,” but said it was currently coordinating with Foxconn to fix the problem.

Foxconn told CNN Business that its review of operations in Zhengzhou found “some workforce compliance issues” but did not find “any evidence of forced labor.” Foxconn said the overtime was always voluntary and consistent with company guidelines.

“Apple and Foxconn know that the issue with dispatch workers is in violation of labor laws, but because it is profitable to hire dispatch workers, they haven’t addressed the issue,” China Labor Watch Executive Director Li Qiang said. “They have allowed these violations to continue over the years.”

The company has scheduled an event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters tomorrow where it is expected to announce the latest version of the iPhone 11.

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images