Apple and Foxconn broke Chinese labor laws to make the new iPhone

Apple and Foxconn have admitted to violating Chinese labor laws after an investigation by a non-profit advocacy group.

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, was found to be using too many temporary workers while building the latest iPhone.

The discovery was made by China Labor Watch (CLW), which released a report on its findings Monday after getting its undercover investigators employed at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou.

The investigation found that despite labor laws restricting a workforce to only 10 percent temporary staff, up to 50 percent of plant workers were temporary in August.

In response to the claims, Apple and Foxconn carried out investigations of their own and confirmed that labor laws were being violated.

“We believe everyone in our supply chain should be treated with dignity and respect,” Apple said in a statement. “To make sure our high standards are being adhered to, we have robust management systems in place beginning with training on workplace rights, on-site worker interviews, anonymous grievance channels and ongoing audits.”

CLW further noted that the percentage fell to 30 percent after August due to the widespread use of student interns who eventually return to school. The percentages often fluctuate depending on the shopping season and whether a new iPhone model is set to be released.

“Our recent findings on working conditions at Zhengzhou Foxconn highlights several issues which are in violation of Apple’s own code of conduct,” CLW said. “Apple has the responsibility and capacity to make fundamental improvements to the working conditions along its supply chain, however, Apple is now transferring costs from the trade war through their suppliers to workers and profiting from the exploitation of Chinese workers.”

Aside from the violations relating to temporary workers, CLW alleged problematic working conditions at Foxconn’s plants.

CLW claimed that Foxconn did not provide workers with adequate protective equipment and often failed to report workplace injuries.

Temporary workers are reportedly not receiving promised bonuses while others are violating a law that limits overtime hours by working 100 a month instead of the maximum of 36.

CLW also claimed that Foxconn did not provide workers with adequate protective equipment and often failed to report workplace injuries.

Although Apple admitted to using too many temporary workers, the company pushed back on “most” of the claims surrounding worker conditions.

“We looked into the claims by China Labor Watch and most of the allegations are false,” Apple said. “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.”

CLW’s report comes just one day before Apple intends to unveil its new iPhones during a Tuesday event.

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Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.