Apple says illegal student labor discovered at iPhone plant

Smartphone maker Apple Inc and its biggest manufacturing partner on Wednesday said that a small number of students were discovered working overtime in its Chinese factory, violating local labor laws.

Many of the headlines surrounding this story seem to indicate that Apple was caught forcing students to work like slaves. The truth is, Apple has held the companies it works with to a higher standard than anyone else when it comes to helping the workers.



  • jqlive

    Yes. But whenever I read one of these stories. I ask myself, Where’s the line of morality for Apple? When does Apple stop caring about profit, and begins to think about basic human rights.

    • Tom_P

      I don’t understand. Apple right now is both caring for profit AND basic human right. What’s in your mind?

      • jqlive

        They definitely care about profit, but not so much the latter. If they did, a story like this wouldn’t happen every few months. Yes, they do more than their counterparts in Tech. But is that really enough? No. Foxconn or whoever else they work with rely heavily on Apple contracts to survive. if Apple were willing to pay more for the assembly, even if it mean cutting into their profits just a little. Then maybe more people would be willing to do those jobs, instead people are being forced. Why? Because those assembly subcontractors need to keep their operation costs down, so they themselves can make a profit, and so Apple can keep their profit margins. Or else Apple would look for a new partner.

        Apple is infamous for playing hardball when negotiating contracts, especially in their supply chain. Something has to give in order for those contracts to work. Apple could make a few small changes to benefit the people assembling their products, but they don’t. Because they need high profit margins, they are a public company after all, their job is to make their shareholders happy, not anyone else, especially not the intern working away with/without little pay.

        Apple likes to present itself as a good moral company. Always playing up their initiatives, and how their technology changed people’s lives. In my opinion, they are a good company with good products, that have made some peoples’ lives better. But that doesn’t make them a good moral company who care about you or me or the guy in a factory making less 1 dollar an hour. They are merely putting lipstick on the pig.

        I am not trying to be a hater or whatever else you may call me based on my argument. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be on a website like this. In my opinion, you can like a product or a company, but still disagree and criticize them. I sincerely hope Apple one day chooses to better in this regard, but I am not holding my breath.

        • Tom_P

          I’m not sure I follow. The story was about Foxconn illegally hire students to produce iPhone X. Apple knew & Foxconn was forced to stop the practice. Sounds like Apple care about their workforce. As for “if Apple were willing to pay more”, in my 30 years experience in business it will never work like that (the outcome will never be like you ‘ideally’ imagine” so what is really matter is what you said from the beginning, that Apple “do more than others in Tech”.

          • jqlive

            They care enough to do something about it after the fact. But would it not be better to fix the cause of the problem rather than the symptom. I agree with your 30 years of experience in business, things wont change like I ‘ideally imagine’… Patronizing much 🙂 However it is a sad state of affairs when the bar is so low that you are graded by how much better you are doing than your competitors at not breaking labor laws.

          • Tom_P

            I understand & philosophically agree with you completely. Sadly the world is not perfect & human even less. If Apple don’t take business as ‘business’ shit will hit the fan pretty fast.

          • jqlive

            I agree

  • lucascott

    We are talking about a factory in another country where Apple simply doesn’t have the sway to be there 24/7. when they find out about bullshit they do what they can to shut it down. remember that Foxconn also builds for Microsoft, etc and we almost never hear reports of them doing the same. and I doubt its because no one is forcing overtime, underage workers etc, on their lines ever