Former Staff Says Apple Chose to Ignore Labor Law Violations by Its Suppliers in China

Former members of the Apple Supplier Responsibility team allege that the company was involved in labor law violations in China. Three former members, including an Apple senior manager, have confirmed labor law violations in China.

The worst part is that Apple was aware of the violations but took no action fearing backlash from suppliers. In other words, if Apple had taken action, then they would have faced a product launch delay. As reported by The Information, China enacted a new labor law in 2014. The law allowed only 10% of the factory workforce to be temporary. This law aims to protect workers’ interests as temporary workers receive no benefits and dont have stability.

Apple’s supplier has increased its dependency on temporary workers with a blatant disregard for the labor law. Eighty factories involved in Apple’s supply chain used more than half of temporary workers to meet their requirements. Meanwhile, Apple has already asked the companies to stop relying on the temporary workforce. Right after the law was enacted in 2014, the companies got a two-year grace period to reduce the temporary workforce.

Apple surveyed 362 of its supplier factories in China that year and discovered that nearly half were over the quota for temporary workers. Eighty factories used temporary workers for more than half their labor force, according to an internal Apple presentation reviewed by The Information. Apple asked its suppliers to come up with plans to reduce their use of temporary workers by a March 2016 deadline, when a two-year grace period for the law expired. However, by the time the law went into effect, little progress had.”

Our ‘surprise and delight’ business model requires a huge volume of labor for only a short period of time as we ramp products,” according to an internal Apple presentation in 2015. “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 labor demand we require during our ramps.”

Our Take

Despite the deadline, suppliers are doing very little to reduce the temporary workforce. Instead, most of them are breaking laws as Apple continued to ignore the issue. There might be an explanation as to why Apple does this. The company delays production for as long as possible to curtail leaks. Thus the suppliers have to meet an almost impossible deadline and rely primarily on a temporary workforce.

[via TheInformation]