Apple, Foxconn: We overly relied on temporary workers in China

Above, a recruitment point of Foxconn — an Apple manufacturing partner — in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province in this February 22, 2013 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 09 September 2019

Apple, Foxconn: We overly relied on temporary workers in China

  • Apple said it investigated the percentage of temporary workers among the overall workforce and found it ‘exceeded our standards’
  • Earllier media reports said Apple was considering moving some operations out of China to avoid new US tariffs

SHANGHAI: Apple and manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology on Monday rebutted allegations of lapses in people management levelled by a non-profit monitor of worker rights, though confirmed they employed too many temporary workers.
The response comes after China Labor Watch on Monday issued a lengthy report accusing the two companies of breaching numerous Chinese labor laws, including one barring temporary staff from exceeding 10 percent of the total workforce.
US tech firm Apple relies heavily on Taiwan’s Foxconn and its Chinese manufacturing facilities to produce devices such as the iPhone, the next line of which will be unveiled on Tuesday.
In a statement, Apple said it investigated the percentage of temporary workers among the overall workforce and found it “exceeded our standards.” It said it was working with Foxconn to “immediately resolve the issue.”
Apple did not state whether the excess amounted to a breach of Chinese law. It declined to comment when asked directly by Reuters.
China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Security did not respond to a Reuters fax seeking comment. Reuters could not immediately determine any penalty for temporary employees exceeding 10 percent of the workforce.
Apple also said it discovered interns at a supplier facility had worked overtime at night, violating company policy, and that “this issue has been corrected.” It said the interns worked overtime voluntarily and were properly compensated.
Foxconn separately confirmed over-reliance on temporary workers, known internally dispatch workers.
“We did find evidence that the use of dispatch workers and the number of hours of overtime work carried out by employees, which we have confirmed was always voluntary, was not consistent with company guidelines,” Foxconn said.
It said it “immediately began a detailed process to ensure that all issues were addressed.”
The labor report comes at a time of trade tension between the United States and China that has threatened to upend supply chains across the technology industry with tit-for-tat import tariffs.
Earlier this year, media reports said Apple was considering moving some operations out of China to avoid new US tariffs, with Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review in June putting the figure at 15 percent to 30 percent of production.
In an earnings call in July, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook downplayed such speculation, stating the vast majority of Apple’s products “are kind of made everywhere.”
“There’s a significant level of content from the United States and a lot from Japan to Korea to China, and the European Union also contributes a fair amount. And so, that’s the nature of a global supply chain. Largely, I think that will carry the day in the future as well.”


IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

Updated 20 February 2020

IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

  • IMF team will provide broad technical advice
  • Lebanon has not requested IMF financial assistance

BEIRUT: A team of IMF experts met Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday at the start of a visit to provide Lebanon with advice on tackling a deepening financial and economic crisis, an official Lebanese source said.

The IMF has said the team will visit until Feb. 23 and provide broad technical advice. Lebanon has not requested financial assistance from the Fund.

The long-brewing economic crisis spiraled last year as capital flows into the country slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite over decades of corruption and bad governance.

Diab’s government, which took office last month, must decide what to do about upcoming debt payments, notably a $1.2 billion dollar-denominated sovereign bond due on March 9.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meanwhile said on Thursday measures would be taken to hold to account all those who contributed to Lebanon’s financial crisis through illegal actions be they transfers abroad, manipulation of Eurobonds or other acts.

“There is information that we are still in need of with regards to the banking situation. There are measures that we will take to hold to account all who participated in bringing the crisis to where it is,” Aoun said, according to his Twitter account.

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One of Lebanon’s most influential politicians, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, said on Wednesday that debt restructuring was the best solution for looming maturities.

Lebanon will on Friday review proposals from firms bidding to give it financial and legal advice on its options, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The government aims to take a quick decision on who to appoint, the source said.

So far, firms bidding to be Lebanon’s legal adviser are Dechert, Cleary Gottlieb, and White and Case, the source said.

Lebanon has issued requests for proposals to seven firms to provide it with financial advice.

The government on Wednesday formed a committee tasked with preparing an economic recovery plan that includes ministers, government officials, a central bank representative and economists, according to a copy of a decree seen by Reuters.