The multinational technology company Apple suspended work at two iPhone 12 cellphone assembly plants in China after it was discovered that some students were being abused at work.
In the plants located in the cities of Shanghai and Kunshan, in eastern China, students were working night shifts, overtime, and positions not related to their specialties, Bloomberg reported on Nov. 9.
“Pegatron [the contractor] misclassified the student workers in their program and falsified paperwork to disguise violations of our code, including allowing students to work nights and/or overtime and in some cases to perform work unrelated to their major,” Apple said.
Apple has been criticized for the way its workers are required to work on Chinese soil.
In 2010 a series of suicides in the production plants of Apple’s main partner company caused great criticism.
Since then, regulations have been tightened in an attempt to improve working conditions, but the number of subcontractors seems to exceed their ability to control them, according to Bloomberg.
Foxconn began in the city of Shenzhen, China, in 1998 with 150 employees and by 2018, there were 863,000.
Its revenue was $175.6 billion, according to the South China Morning Post in April.
However, while Apple made 22.4% of profits in 2018, Foxconn made only one tenth, 2.4%.
“No talking, no laughing, no eating, no sleeping” are the instructions for workers during working hours, says the book “Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn and The Lives of China’s Workers,” by researchers Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, and Pun Ngai,
Penalties for breaking the rules include copying passages from Gou’s [Terry Gou Tai-ming, Foxconn’s boss] quotes and writing self-criticism that is read in public.
Line managers have strict production quotas and must work tirelessly to meet them.
In addition, workers must pass through special security zones when entering, and telephones, recording devices, and metal objects are prohibited. They usually have only one day off per month.
Pegatron announced that it had corrected the anomalies revealed by Apple.
“Upon discovery of this noncompliant activity, we immediately removed the student workers from the production lines …” Pegatron reported, adding that they would be adequately compensated.
Such extreme working conditions seem to be common in companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Trump administration sanctioned companies that produce their goods in CCP-regulated forced-labor camps, which hold millions of Uighurs, Falun Dafa practitioners, and members of other racial or religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.