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Apple And Foxconn Admit Their Over Reliance On Chinese Temporary Workers

Apple And Foxconn Admit Their Over Reliance On Chinese Temporary Workers
While admitting that they had employed much more temporary workers in China than required, tech giant Apple and its major supplier and manufacturer Foxconn refuted allegation by a non-profit monitor of worker rights that the companies had faulty people management strategies or polices in China.
The two companies were accused of a number of Chinese labor laws, which included one that limiting companies from hiring temporary staff of more than 10 per cent of the total workforce, in a lengthy report which was published by the group called China Labor Watch on Monday.
Manufacturing of hardware devices such as the iPhone of United States based tech firm Apple is mostly done by Taiwan’s Foxconn while Chinese manufacturing facilities of Foxconn are the primary producing units for the Taiwanese company. Hence Apple is dependent on Chinese workers for manufacturing of a large part of its products.
Apple found that the ration of temporary workers to the total workforce in China “exceeded our standards” after the company conducted an in-house investigation, Apple said in a statement ot the media. It was working with Foxconn to “immediately resolve the issue”, Apple further said.
The iPhone maker however did not say anything about whether it had violated the Chinese law about temporary workers.
There was also response available in the media from China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Security.
Apple also said that its investigations had found violation of company policy at a supplier facility where interns had worked overtime at night. It assured that “this issue has been corrected.” The interns had offered to work overtime on their own and had been adequately compensated for the same, Apple said.
The over dependence of Foxconn on temporary workers, who are known internally in the company as dispatch workers, was confirmed by the Taiwanese company in a separate statement.
“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,” Foxconn said. It said it “immediately began a detailed process to ensure that all issues were addressed”.
This report from China Labor Watch comes at a time when there is heightened strain in the relation between the United States and China because of the trade war and which has been ongoing for more than a year now and which has upended global supply chains especially in the technology industry. The trade war has also seen both the countries imposing import tariffs on each other’s goods worth billions of dollars.
There were media reports earlier this year that suggested that the moving some operations out of China was being planned by Apple in order to bypass the US tariffs. According to the report published in Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review in June, Apple was planning to shift about 15 per cent to 30 per cent of its Chinese production outside of China.
However those speculations were downplayed by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in an earnings call in July and said that the vast majority of Apple’s products “are kind of made everywhere.”
“There’s a significant level of content from the United States and a lot from Japan to Korea to China, and the European Union also contributes a fair amount. And so, that’s the nature of a global supply chain. Largely, I think that will carry the day in the future as well.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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