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Apple, Foxconn Found Violating Chinese Labor Laws

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Apple Inc. (AAPL) and its manufacturing partner Foxconn have been accused by an advocacy group of violating Chinese labor laws.

The allegations come just ahead of an Apple event scheduled on Tuesday to announce new iPhones. However, Apple has denied most of the allegations of harsh working conditions.

According to a report published by China Labor Watch, a New York-based watchdog, Apple and Foxconn violated labor laws by hiring too many temporary staff, or dispatch workers at the largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China. The dispatch workers included student interns.

The report notes that the percentage of dispatch workers at the factory now makes up 50 percent or more of the workforce. This is despite Chinese labor law stipulating that dispatch workers shall not exceed 10 percent of the total employed workers.

Further, workers at Zhengzhou Foxconn were found to have put in at least 100 overtime hours a month during the peak production seasons, while Chinese labor law states that workers must not work more than 36 overtime hours a month.

The labor watchdog also claims that workers on the Foxconn factory line earned a base wage of only 2,100 yuan, or $295, which was insufficient to sustain the livelihood for a family living in Zhengzhou city.

Although social insurance contributions have increased from 2015 to 2018, this still falls short of the legal requirements, China Labor Watch said.

Further, regular employees are reportedly not allowed to resign from the Foxconn factory during peak season, while student employees worked illegal overtime.

There were also complaints that some dispatch workers did not receive promised bonuses.

In response to the report, Apple said it has looked into the claims by China Labor Watch and most of the allegations are false.

"We did find during our investigation that the percentage of dispatch workers exceeded our standards and we are working closely with Foxconn to resolve this issue," Apple admitted.

The non-profit advocacy group has uncovered other alleged labor rights violations by Apple partners in the past.

Apple's supply chain has faced severe criticisms in the past for poor working conditions. The tech giant's 2019 report has identified one case of underage labor, saying that a 15-year-old individual obtained a job through use of false identification.

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