Labor group China Labor Watch released a report Sept. 8 saying the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory in China — which it says is the largest Apple iPhone factory in the world — broke Chinese law by hiring too many temporary workers. The factory is operated by supplier Foxconn Technology Group.
Under Chinese law, temporary workers — known as dispatch workers in China — are not to exceed 10% of a company’s total employed workforce, but the percentage of dispatch workers at Zhengzhou Foxconn was around 50% in August, according to the report. It had been at 55% in 2018. Prior to 2016, the company rarely used such workers, the report noted.
The group made other allegations as well, including that workers’ resignations were not accepted during peak season, overtime was not paid in some cases and that student interns were required to work overtime.
Responding to the report, Foxconn Technology Group said it uses a combination of full-time employees and temporary agency workers and that some of its locations have a short-term internship program that is done in cooperation with local governments and vocational schools. However, it said in all cases it offers a competitive salary and related benefits that significantly exceed government-mandated levels.
“We can confirm that a recent review of our operations at our facility in Zhengzhou did identify some workforce compliance issues,” according to the company. “As soon as we received the results of that review, we immediately began a detailed process to ensure that all issues were addressed. At no time did we find any evidence of forced labor and we can confirm that this facility currently has no interns working overtime.”
Foxconn also said it found that the use of temporary workers did not align with company guidelines.
“We did find evidence that the use of dispatch workers and the number of hours of overtime work carried out by employees, which we have confirmed was always voluntary, was not consistent with company guidelines,” according to a statement by the company. “We did determine that the affected workers were paid all earned overtime and related bonus payments.”
It also said it will continue to address the issues at the Zhengzhou facility.
“We will not hesitate to take any additional steps that might be required to meet the high standards we set for our operations,” Foxconn said. “Also, as a matter of company policy, we do not comment on our customers or their products.”