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Apple supplier Career accused of forcing 200 'voluntary' resignations amid iPhone slowdown

The Taiwanese city of Taoyuan is investigating charges that an important Apple supplier, Career Technology, pushed 200 full-time workers to sign "voluntary" resignations.

iPhone XS



Workers said operations at a Taoyuan factory have been shut down for over two weeks, and that the resignations were forced so Career could avoid paying severance, according to The China Post. On Jan. 29 and 31 the company reported laying off just 36 and 23 people, respectively.

In its defense Career claimed that there was a misunderstanding, and workers were asked to sign a form with three options: resignation, retirement, or layoff. It did admit to having to shrink its workforce at the factory, but said 20 to 30 people were impacted, either in layoffs or transfers to a factory in New Taipei — in conflict with its earlier official statistics. It also promised to pay legally required benefits and severance.

Taoyuan Department of Labor staff will visit Career when it reopens after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Career produces flexible circuit boards for iPhone antennas, and in November laid off 400 to 500 temporary workers as a result of weak orders from Apple. If the new allegations are accurate it may suggest the company was deeply impacted, given that full-time staff are usually more secure at Apple suppliers.

The company's downturn in iPhone sales during the December quarter has impacted other companies in the Apple supply chain, among them Foxconn, which reportedly dismissed some 50,000 seasonal workers early. The company typically ramps up hiring ahead of fall iPhones launches and keeps seasonal crews onboard until January.