Apple Disregarded Suppliers Breaching Chinese Labor Laws: REPORT

Apple reportedly disregarded suppliers in China breaching the labor law which caps the proportion of temporary workers at 10 percent.

A new report from The Information claims that Apple was fully aware that from 2014 its suppliers were violating Chinese labour laws, but did nothing because it didn’t want to put a dent in its product launches or increase costs.

Former Apple employees said the tech giant has ignored suppliers violating Chinese labour laws since 2014. Three are former members of Apple’s “supplier responsibility team,” and they allege that Apple took no significant action against the suppliers violating the law “out of concerns it would create costs, drain resources and delay product launches.”

But the problem goes deeper than that. According to The Information:

The former employees, as well as a review of internal Apple presentations and the company’s own data on factory hiring between 2013 and 2018, suggests that Apple’s strategy for managing its supply chain made it difficult for its three biggest contract manufacturers — Foxconn Technology, Quanta Computer and Pegatron — to remain compliant with the labor restrictions. The issue surfaced again publicly last year when Apple admitted that Foxconn had broken the law at its massive iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, which can employ as many as 300,000 workers. Apple says it requires suppliers to abide by local laws and pledges to remove those that won’t comply.

According to The Information, the problem continued in 2018 as a Quanta factory manufacturing Apple Watches hired 5,000 temporary workers, accounting for 27 percent of its labour force.

In 2019, Apple and its major supplier Foxconn admitted to using more temporary workers in China than allowed by law. Apple’s strategy of avoiding leaks and maintaining product secrecy gives rise to the temporary workers’ issue.

“We are making it difficult for our suppliers to comply with this law as 10% dispatch is simply not enough to cope with the spikes in labour demand we require during our ramps,” Apple executives reportedly said.

In a statement referring to The Information‘s report, Apple said: “Workplace rights are human rights and our supplier code of conduct is the strongest in the industry, and it applies equally to everyone across our supply chain.”