December 4, 2020

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A slave job in the production of iPhones

2 min read


China Labor Watch, an independent organization, monitors the conditions of workers in the Chinese industry. Her latest release is a 51 page long analysis that accuses Apple and Foxconn of violating Chinese legislation in the manufacture of iPhones.


The report focuses mainly on hard production quotas, for which employees have to work extreme overtimes. Interesting information is also surprisingly low price, which Apple pays for the production of one iPhone. According to China Labor Watch calculations, the apple company spends only $ 4.64 on the work of producing one iPhone.

Drastic quotas for minimum wages

One of the allegations of the report is that Foxconn employs 50% of the temporary workers at its factory in Zhengzhou. This allows him to avoid the benefits he would otherwise have to offer to long-term employees. The practice contradicts Chinese legislation because it stipulates that in any company, temporary workers can make up at most 10% of the total workforce.

A slave job in the production of iPhones


One hundred hours of overtimes a month


But let us return to the issue of overtimes. The factory is said to set very strict production quotas. When the factory runs to maximum, it can produce up to 12,000 iPhones a day. On average, however, two shifts (day and night) produce 11,000 iPhones a day. Outside the main production period Foxconn factory produces only about 3,000 iPhones per day, but in these periods are also significantly reduced the number of temporary workers.

As a result, according to China Labor Watch, employees have virtually all year round the problem of prosecuting quotas, which are penalized if they are not met. They must therefore work involuntarily in overtime, which in their length violates local regulations. During peak production, employees are said to have at least 100 hours of overtime per month, while the law does not allow more than 36.

A slave job in the production of iPhones


The report also mentions a number of other errors. For example, do not report accidents at work, neglect fire safety, verbal insults to workers, non-payment of social insurance and so on.


Apple has not commented on the matter so far. The company only stated that the number of temporary workers “exceeded its standards”. The question is whether or not what the cause of the case will be. China Labor Watch reportedly worked on the report for several years and usually offers legal services to employees in such situations. If local laws could be enforced, production would probably increase significantly. Apple could also consider moving production to another country, which is equally on the agenda due to a trade dispute between the US and China. Google recently launched production to Vietnam and Thailand as well.

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