Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple & Foxconn amping up efforts for more labor reform in India

Tamil Nadu may be next for reforms

After success in one region, Apple is seeking more labor reforms across India to move more manufacturing out of China.

The company started in the southern Indian state of Karnataka by lobbying for changes to labor law. The new legislation allows for two-shift production in India, similar to labor practices in China.

The law would allow a factory to maximize output by running production over two 12-hour shifts. Previously, Karnataka limited workers' shifts to nine hours.

Now, India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, home of the country's largest iPhone plant from Foxconn, may also pass new rules to make factory shifts more flexible, according to Bloomberg. Executives from Apple and the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) lobby group reportedly met with state government officials over six months to push for the reforms.

Allowing more overtime and allowing factories to operate two 12-hour shifts instead of the previous three eight-hour shifts are among the suggested changes. And with more flexible shifts for women, they could avoid commuting on buses at night, which is often unsafe for them.

To help, Apple and its suppliers are discussing the construction of hostels for working women in and around factory complexes to reduce travel time.

"In electronics manufacturing, thanks to the hygienic environment and the roles in the units, women are a natural fit," ICEA said in a recommendation document submitted to the Tamil Nadu government. "Women have superior manual dexterity, which is necessary for high-precision electronics assembly."

Currently, Apple supplier Foxconn is planning to build a new $700 million iPhone facility in Karnataka and expects to create about 100,000 jobs with the endeavor. However, sources said the plans needed to be finalized and could change.

Other Indian states such as Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, the location of a Samsung smartphone factory, may follow Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with labor reforms.