12 September 2019 12:44

The iPhones are new, but the exploitation of workers is old!

In the Foxconn plants where the iPhones are produced, even the Chinese labour laws are routinely flouted, the use of “temporary workers” is increasing and bonuses pledged to workers are not being paid.

Photograph: Apple


A report published a few days ago by the Chinese Labour Observation Organisation as a result of an inquiry it has undertaken for the last 4 years, revealed that even Chinese labour laws are being flouted routinely in the Foxconn plant where iPhones, which Apple introduced the previous day, are produced. As well as the increase in “temporary workers” since 2016, the report also notes that the bonuses pledged to these temporary workers during their recruitment have not been paid. In the previous report about the same plant, it was verified that university or middle school interns were forced to do over time.


According to Chinese labour laws, the proportion of temporary workers to the entirety of the workforce is prohibited from exceeding 10 percent. As for overtimes, they are restricted to 36 hours per month. According to the report, in the Foxconn plant, at periods when production was busiest, the number of temporary workers was nearing 50 percent and some workers were doing more than 100 hours of overtime per month. The salaries of temporary workers were always better than permanent ones but as soon as the workload decreased, they were sent away. There are claims that, due to this system, Foxconn was not compelled to increase salaries in order to attract more workers.


Amongst the claims are also that Apple was well aware of these violations yet did not intervene in the situation as this kind of production is more profitable.

The report is not restricted with the topic of temporary workers. It also includes the claims that protective clothing was not supplied to the unit checking whether phones were put together properly with the aid of X-rays, that permanent workers were not allowed to resign at busy periods of work and that the workers needed to get special permissions in order not to do overtime.

Known as the iPhone city, in the Zhengzhou Foxconn plant, 88 thousand workers, including 49 thousand temporary workers, were employed in 2018. In the plant spread around 1 million 400 thousand square metres, 12 thousand iPhones are produced in each shift.


Responding to the report, Apple announced that the proportion of temporary workers was indeed higher than Apple standards and that it has began to deal with the issue in partnership with Foxconn but claimed that the rest of the claims were not true. Also responding to the situation, Foxconn, despite confirming the high proportion of temporary workers and extra overtimes, claimed that the overtimes were undertaken voluntarily but also that this does not meet with the company’s principles. The poor working conditions in Foxconn, where the greatest section of iPhone production is taking place, had first entered the world agenda with news titled “suicide factories” in 2010. (EVRENSEL DAILY)