Apple reportedly lobbied for relaxed Indian labor restrictions as iPhone suppliers flock to the region

Tim Cook on a Foxconn production line
(Image credit: Apple)

Both Apple and its chief iPhone assembler Foxconn are said to have been involved in lobbying efforts that led to changes in Indian labor laws.

Foxconn is just one of Apple's suppliers that are working to move some of their manufacturing capacity to the country, with Chinese factories proving unreliable in recent years.

Now, labor laws in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have been changed to make them more favorable to companies like Foxconn.

Longer hours, overnight shifts

Reports by The Financial Times and DigiTimes Asia claim that Karnataka passed a new labor law on March 1 that allows people to work differently to how they were permitted previously.

According to reports, changes include an increase in overtime hours from 75 per month to 145, while women will now also be allowed to work between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am so long as suitable transport is available — including CCTV  and GPS for monitoring purposes. Employers will be responsible for making those things available.

One other notable change means that workers will be able to work up to twelve hours a day for four consecutive days before taking three days off. That's an increase from the previous nine-hour limitation.

It's thought that both Foxconn and Apple lobbied to have these changes approved.

This is all beneficial to companies like Foxconn who continue to eye India as a potential home for factories that would normally be located in China. Production in Chinese factories like the one in Zhengzhou has been hampered by COVID-19 lockdowns and worker riots of late. That plant, also known as iPhone City, employs around 200,000 workers and is the only plant capable of assembling Apple's best iPhones. That reliance on Chinese manufacturing has Apple uneasy given ongoing tensions between the country and the United States.

By moving at least some of its manufacturing capacity to India, Foxconn could ensure that we don't see stock shortages like those that affected the iPhone 14 lineup last year when the iPhone 15 rolls around in September.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.