Apple pushes India to relax labor laws in push to diversify beyond China

Apple is pushing for changes in India’s labor laws as part of its effort to expand production in the country. India’s regional governments are working with the company to relax labor laws as they are eager to take iPhone assembly away from China as Apple finally looks to diversify production to mitigate the risk of the Chinese Communist Party’s quixotic whims and self-defeating vagaries.

Workers at Apple supplier Quanta Computer's factory in China hop the turnstiles in April 2022, fed up with quixotic 'zero-COVID' lockdowns
Workers at Apple supplier Quanta Computer’s factory in China hop the turnstiles in April 2022, fed up with the Chinese Communist Party’s quixotic ‘zero-COVID’ lockdowns

Sankalp Phartiyal for Bloomberg News:

India’s southern Tamil Nadu state, where Apple’s top supplier Foxconn Technology Group operates India’s largest iPhone plant, is considering passing new rules that will make factory shifts more flexible, people familiar with the matter said.

Executives from Apple and the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association lobby group — which represents the US company as well its suppliers such as Foxconn, Pegatron Corp. and Wistron Corp. — met with state government officials over six months to push for the reforms… The planned changes would bring local working hours on par with the iPhone factories in China, they said.

The moves are part of Apple’s effort to shift more production away from China to countries including India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s local manufacturing push, financial incentives and India’s relatively cheaper labor have led Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron to ramp up in the South Asian nation.

Labor law reforms in India are rare, and the country’s willingness to now accommodate Apple underscores how badly it wants to become an electronics manufacturing hub. The suggested changes include allowing factories to operate two shifts of 12 hours each, instead of the previous three shifts that each went on for eight hours.

MacDailyNews Note: According to the report which cites two of the individuals with knowledge of the situation, the proposed modifications may promote greater female participation in factory work. By offering more adaptable shift schedules, women could potentially avoid commuting on buses at night, a situation which is often regarded as unsafe. Additionally, Apple and its suppliers are reportedly discussing the creation of sizable hostels for female employees to be located in and around factory complexes, which would decrease or even eliminate commuting time for women workers.

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

1 Comment

  1. What it sounds like and boils down to Apple wants India to liberalize working laws in their favor to save money and not in favor of the worker, again. China indentured worker status saw protests and people jumping to their deaths from company housing over the long hours, mandatory overtime and poor working conditions. Most of those workers very young age, so imagine middle age to older workers with families working 12 hours a day what kind of life is that? Providing housing will not make make workers younger or provide stamina needed for 12-hour shifts. Assume the workers will also not have union representation. Respect India traditions, forgo providing housing and spend the money on hiring a third shift, paying workers a good wage for quality of life living. More people will then be out of poverty contributing to a vital economy.

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