'Cheap' iPhone factory violates China's labor laws

Summary:Jabil Circuit's Wuxi factory, which manufactures the reportedly upcoming new cheap iPhone, violated multiple labor laws including excessively long work and poor working conditions, states report by local labor watchdog.

According to a recent report released by a local watchdog group, a factory producing "cheap" iPhone in China has violated several labor laws including excessively long work hours, over 100 hours of mandatory overtime per month, and millions in arrears.


An undercover investigation conducted by China Labor Watch (CLW) revealed Florida-headquartered electronic manufacturer, Jabil Circuit, violated local labor laws and failed to meet its stated code of conduct on 23 accounts, as it beefed up production in the city of Wuxi, in East China, of Apple's  yet-to-be-released cheap iPhone .

CLW's report stated under-trained workers had to work standing for 11 hours every day, with no rest outside a 30-minute meal break. They also faced discrimination associated with age and pregnancy.

Apple responded in a statement on September 5 saying it had sent a team to the Wuxi factory to investigate CLW's claims, according to a report by AllThingsD. "We take any concerns about our suppliers very seriously, and our team of experts is on-site at Jabil Wuxi to look into the new claims about conditions there," said Apple spokesperson Kirstin Huguet.

"We are troubled by recent allegations related to excessive overtime, unpaid overtime, and working conditions at our Wuxi, China site," she told AllThingsD. "An audit team is en route to Wuxi to thoroughly investigate these claims."

The CLW report cited the case of a female worker at the Jabil factory who had to rush through her 30-minute lunch break while trudging through security checks, leaving just five minutes to eat. It also noted the factory only had one cafeteria for 30,000 workers who accumulated over 100 overtime hours a month, three times more than what was permissible under Chinese laws. 

The Jabil Wuxi facility produces the rear plastic covers  reportedly used in Apple's anticipated cheap iPhone. 

CLW in July had released a separate report highlighting how the U.S. smartphone maker had failed to keep its pledge to improve work conditions at manufacturing plants in China that assemble Apple products. Specifically, the watchdog group listed 17 promises Cupertino made but failed to keep, including not hiring underage workers and limiting work hours to 60 hours a week. 

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, China, iPhone


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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