What you need to know
- Apple has confirmed a report that Foxconn employed too many temps.
- China has laws in place to limit temporary employee numbers.
- Apple didn't admit Foxconn broke any laws.
Apple has confirmed that Foxconn used too many temporary staff during the production of its products. Foxconn is one of the main players in Apple's iPhone manufacturing chain and it's believed the employees were used to help ramp up production of the upcoming iPhone 11.
Initial claims by China Labor Watch had Foxconn breaking labor laws by utilizing considerably more temporary workers than it was allowed to. The law states that Chinese companies can only use temporary workers – known as dispatch workers – in numbers up to 10% of its workforce. However, it appears that the number at Foxconn was anything up to 50%.
China Labor Watch had apparently received complaints from Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory relating to working conditions and the amount of overtime worked. Foxconn says that overtime is voluntary, however.
Apple says that it has investigated the issue and is working with Foxconn to "immediately resolve" it. Foxconn also said that it is aware that its use of overtime and dispatch workers "was not consistent with company guidelines" via a statement.
China Labor Watch notes that the use of dispatch staff coincides with a higher demand for iPhone production. Apple is expected to announce its 2019 iPhone lineup during an event on September 10th and production will already be underway to meet early demand. By using temporary workers as well as having team members work overtime, Foxconn is able to quickly speed up production without having to set on new, full-time workers.
Neither Foxconn nor Apple has mentioned the other troubling accusations that workers also suffer verbal abuse, exposure to toxic chemicals, and sexual abuse.