Apple pushes for labor reform in India, wants ‘working hours, flexibility on par with China’

Earlier this month, a report revealed that Apple and Foxconn had successfully lobbied for more relaxed labor laws in the Indian state of Karnataka.

The companies, however, aren’t stopping there, as Bloomberg now reports that Apple and its supply chain partners are now pushing for labor reform in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu.

According to the report, executives from Apple and the “Indian Cellular and Electronics Association Lobby Group” have spent the last six months meeting with government officials to lobby for more flexible labor laws. That lobbying group includes Apple, as well as its supply chain partners Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron.

The proposed changes in India would “bring local working hours on par with the iPhone factories in China.” This includes allowing factories to operate two 12-hour shifts per day, instead of three eight-hour shifts.

Bloomberg points out that “labor law reforms in India are rare,” but Apple and Foxconn recently scored a victory in the Indian state of Karnataka. In that instance, changes include an increase to the number of hours factories can operate, nearly double the amount of allowed overtime, looser rules on night-time work for women, and more.

All of this comes as Apple continues to double down on India becoming a major manufacturing hub. Just last week, a report revealed that AirPods will be manufactured in India for the first time as soon as next year. Bloomberg also recently reported that Apple is reshuffling its sales organization to put a bigger focus on India.

Apple is also expected to open its first retail store in India next month, located in Mumbai. The company’s second store could then open just a few weeks later, located in Delhi.

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Naveen Kumar

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