Apple investigates Foxconn over complaints workers are overworked and underpaid

It appears Apple and CEO Tim Cook are hedging their future bets by diversifying more production outside China.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly investigating Foxconn regarding concerns that workers at its plants are overworked and underpaid.

Foxconn remains, for better or worse, Apple’s best-known contract manufacturer. While Foxconn, which employs around 1 million people, has far more clients than just Apple, it is most closely associated with the Cupertino tech giant.

Notably, 11 years ago Foxconn was rocked by a spate of employee suicides. At the time, worker conditions were cited as one of the possible reasons. Apple launched an investigation into the suicides, but — possibly rightly — it still became one of the biggest controversies hitting Apple during Steve Jobs’ stint as CEO.

As the authors of the book Becoming Steve Jobs wrote: “How could a company with Apple’s cherubic marketing glow make its devices in Foxconn factories where the drudgery and difficult working conditions resulted in more than a dozen assembly-line workers committing suicide?”

To offset concerns about the recent accusations, Foxconn says that it has raised basic salaries for workers in China by up to 25%. Assembly line workers in Shenzhen, southern China, now earn between $285 and $400 per month, depending on job performance. The inspection is reportedly being carried out for Apple by the Fair Labor Association.

It’s not just a Foxconn issue

Foxconn is not the only Apple manufacturer or supplier to be hit with accusations regarding human rights violations. In November 2020, Apple placed Pegatron, another of its biggest manufacturing partners, on probation. This was after Apple found that Pegatron had made unauthorized use of students to carry out overtime and night shifts.

Apple also recently removed Chinese manufacturer O’Film Group from its camera module supply chain. This was due to the firm’s use of forced labor of marginalized Uighur people in China. Another iPhone supplier, Lens Technology, has faced similar accusations.

Source: Industry Week