iPhone 11 launch marred by accusations of Chinese labor law violations

JC Torres - Sep 9, 2019, 5:36 am CDT
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iPhone 11 launch marred by accusations of Chinese labor law violations

It probably isn’t too hard to imagine people scampering whenever a new major product is about to be launched. Everyone from marketing to retail to production are “all hands on deck” to meet deadlines. While that’s almost normal in the industry, that doesn’t mean they are acceptable. Even worse if they run into violations of laws relating to labor and fair compensation. That is exactly what Apple and assembler Foxconn are now being accused of in China just a day before the iPhone 11 is officially revealed to the world.

The allegations come from China Labor Watch which claimed that the two companies violated Chinese labor laws in the crunch to get the upcoming iPhones manufactured and launched. Undercover investigators reported that Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant had temporary workers that made up 50% of the workforce last month while Chinese laws dictate that the maximum is only 10%.

This isn’t the first time that Apple or one of its partners have been accused of violating laws, especially in China and, in a few instances, it has admitted to the transgression. At first, Bloomberg reported a similar tone from Cupertino but its statement to CNBC claims otherwise. According to the iPhone maker, it looked into the claims of the nonprofit organization and found that all workers are properly compensated and that there was no evidence of forced labor.

That seems, however, to address only some of the labor watch’s accusations. Those include requiring 100 hours of overtime a month, student employees working during peak production hours contrary to laws, and employees not receiving bonuses. Apple does admit that there did seem to have a greater ratio of temporary workers and that it is working with Foxconn to address it.

That’s not going to dampen interest, let alone sales, of the iPhone 11, of course. Unfortunately, such violations often go under the radar unless some whistleblower alerts the media. To its credit, Apple does act swiftly to correct such mistakes, though some raise questions whether it is admitting to the correct number of violations in the first place.


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