'Cheap' iPhone factory violates China's labor laws

'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, iPhone, China

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  • China has cheap labor and flexible laws

    Apple has huge profits. I'm sure Apple (and sometimes are others) don't have direct responsibility, but sadly similar news keep coming.

    Consumers (I'm dreaming) and authorities (like by creating a special tax based on "offense points") should take measures.
    • True

      However all we here is how costs are always rising and no one wants to pay more for their goods. This won't be an isolated incident in China but other than giving lip service to it, who is willing to pay extra for everything out of China?
      Little Old Man
  • China has labor laws?

    China has labor laws? What? No commiting suicide during working hours? How ironic that the mantra of the Communists in the last century was "workers of the world unite". How bad it would be for the oligarchs in China if that really happened today! How bad it would be for our own oligarchs if that happened here in the U.S.! That's why the Koch brothers practice union busting.
    • We Already Know What Would Happen if the "Workers United" in China.

      It was called "The Great Leap Forward" and the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", and resulted in about 65 million people starving to death or being killed for not uniting with the workers. As bad as oligarchy is, and it is bad, it is a huge step up from the "workers paradise". If China wants to take the next step up the ladder of civilization, they will reform toward free market economics... ironically enough, that is the exact same solution for the trials and tribulations of the US today. The only way to get business out of politics, is to get politics out of business.
  • Oh so it's cheep???

    Look, the iPhone 3G and 3GS, both had plastic backs. No one ever said it was cheap. Additionally, because it's plastic, the whole component is easily automated, in the manufacturing process.

    I see this as another hit article with little merit or substance. Let Apple do it's job. If the allegations are true, let them fix it, even if it really is an Apple part that's on the line. For all anyone knows it could be a door knob. These factories make many different things. So Apple has a contract with a Florida company which in turn has a contract with a Chinese factory, which is accused of labor infractions. Oh it must be Apples problem. I see how the connection works. All factories in China work for Apple.

    Writers need to stop using Apple as there ticket to readers, based on slanderous rumors, without actually putting some footwork in and getting the story themselves.
    • 'Cheap' is relative

      Apparently, you haven't been paying attention.
      Apple is releasing an iPhone 5c that everyone has nicknamed the 'Cheap' iPhone b/c it's supposed to have a lower price point than the iPhone 5 thus being the 'cheap'er version.
      And Wow! How did you get from this article that the author is accusing Apple of being responsible for every infraction being made by every Chinese factory? Sure the problem isn't, probably, Apple's fault. But the direct ties from the specific factory in question with Apple is noteworthy and the consumer has a right to know.
      Stop being such an Apple apologist and just deal with the fact that the company has a problem and, as the article states, they are looking into it.
      Jason Barkley
  • China has labor laws?!?

    That's news to me.

    Sounds like we have some real APPLE FANATIC RESPONDERS here. While Apple makes billions with their exorbitantly priced products, selling to those same fanatics, I'm sure they use every practice possible, legal or otherwise in order to iNCREASE their bottom line. Sorry, just won't participate in APPLEMANIA!!!!
    John the Farmer
    • So wait...

      if Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, Sony, Nokia, or other companies were found guilty of the same labor practices, would you call out their fanatics?
  • I think the labor laws should

    simply be, would the CEO take a job working those hours for that little pay? Would he/she let their children work like that for that much? If the answer is no, then they should not expect anyone to do it..
    I think it is sad that those making the most around the world are those that are trying to keep others from making a living wage.. cut back on the executives to a reasonable amount, I would bet they could afford to pay the lowest workers a good deal more without raising the prices on anything.
    when you make more a year than a reasonably well educated professional makes in 20-40 years.. then you make way too much.. you cannot possibly know what it takes for the average worker to support their families anymore.