Apple Pays Chinese Workers $1.85/Hour for a 12-Hour Shift, 6 Days a Week


An investigation into labor practices at Chinese factories run by Foxconn and Pegatron, which make Apple products, has found that laborers work over 60 hours a week and make less than two dollars an hour – that’s at least 2,500 times less than Apple CEO Tim Cook’s $10.3 million compensation last year.

The report titled Something’s Not Right Here, overseen by the New York-based nonprofit China Labor Watch, relied on more than 1,200 pay stubs collected from workers at a Shanghai Pegatron factory in October 2015. An analysis of the stubs revealed that over 70% of the workers toiled more than 60 hours a week, some up to 72 hours. However, China’s overtime regulations cap the number of maximum overtime hours to 36 per month. China Labor Watch alleged:

“Right now, in Shanghai, China, a factory owned by the Taiwanese Pegatron Group is pushing out millions of units of the iPhone 6s for Apple. There, its young production workers toil six days a week in 12-hour shifts. Each day they are paid for 10 and half hours of work, not counting 15 minutes of unpaid meetings. The mandatory overtime shift runs from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm.

“Before overtime pay, workers making the iPhone earn only the local minimum wage of $318 per month, or about $1.85 per hour. This is not a living wage. Even if the factory did not mandate overtime as it does, workers would still depend on their 60-hour workweeks to get by.

“After their long shifts, workers take a 30-minute shuttle bus back to their dorms where up to 14 people are crammed into a room. Mold grows pervasively along the walls. Bed bugs have spread throughout the dorm, and many workers are covered in red bug bites.”


Kevin Slaten, program coordinator at China Labor Watch, said the findings cast doubt on Apple’s commitment to monitor its supply chain. In 2015, the company said 92% of its suppliers complied with its 60-hour weekly limit. Slaten told IBTimes UK:

“The results of this investigation suggest to us that despite enjoying ever-growing commercial success, Apple refuses to do what’s necessary to ensure workers, who make that success possible, are treated fairly and work in safe environments. We can only conclude that Apple pursues profit maximization for itself and its shareholders no matter the lives of people making Apple products.”

This isn’t the first time Apple suppliers in China have come under fire over poor labor conditions. The gross violation of human rights in Chinese factories was highlighted in 2010 when 14 workers killed themselves at Apple’s biggest supplier, Foxconn.

In December 2014, a BBC investigation found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at Pegatron factories in Shanghai. The BBC’s undercover cameras showed Pegatron employees slumped over work tables, warned against falling against asleep and toppling into machines, and forced to say they were willing to take on night shifts and work standing up. The BBC alleged:

“Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai. One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off. Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move. Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress.”

“Overtime is supposed to be voluntary, but none of the reporters were offered any choice. In addition to the excessive hours, one reporter had to attend unpaid meetings before and after work. Another reporter was housed in a dormitory where 12 workers shared a cramped room.”

MailOnline reported in March 2015 that Tian Fulei, a 26-year-old worker, was found dead on February 3, 2015, in a dormitory he shared with other workers at Pegatron. He’d  been working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. A verdict of ‘sudden death’ was given in court, but no autopsy was carried out, it claimed. The news came just after a month of China Labor Watch highlighting low pay and extensive use of overtime at Pegatron.


Slaten told MailOnline:

There is a tremendous amount of mandatory overtime. In some cases workers can choose not to do it but supervisors will say, “That’s fine, but you’re not going to get one more hour overtime at all this month”. So you have no overtime and practically don’t have a living wage, or you have too much, which can be dangerous.”

This article (Apple Pays Chinese Workers $1.85/Hour for a 12-Hour Shift, 6 Days a Week) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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  1. I would like to hear some more Americans complain about how bad they have it and how bad their wages and working conditions are

    • If this conditions are on the world they will come sooner or later to us also.
      It’s not about who complains about valid reasons in life. It’s about finding solutions.

      Your mindset is creating ground for worse working conditions.
      The elite which controlls us is laughing about us arguing against each other while they take use of our lack of focus on the important things.

    • At this present time, in the EU. foreign workers are being employed for a similar wage on short time contracts by at least one company that I know of. The effect of this is of course to reduce the employement of local or EU. workers and to threaten any competiters who are unable or unwilling to compete. A similar assault upon the living standards of ‘local workers’ is enabled when companies import from any low-income (low cost of living) country.
      Do you really think this is a good idea righteous, or are you simply acting the fool?

  2. Come to Poland…. European country where workers get around 350 USD wage for one month! Some people work even for lower wages. And how to live?

  3. OMG. I can’t believe the Bias on this article. These are NOT “Apples Chinese Workers”. They are workers, in China, employed by a 3rd party manufacturer who happen to also assemble some Apple products, oh and HP and LG’s and almost every other electronic smartphone and tablet in the world, why does this article only mention Apple?. Apple are the only company of the whole lot that actually publishes and tries to enforce a Supplier code of conduct. It may not always be successful because hey, ITS NOT APPLES COMPANY OR EMPLOYEES, so there are limits in what you can be held responsible for or enforce. I don’t see any mention of the other companies that use Foxconn or the other chinese “Sweatshops”. Its like being held responsible for how a store pays and treats its employees because you happen to buy things from them because they offered the best price.

    It would be nice if all the chinese manufacturers paid a good living wage and I am prepared to pay for it in the end product, but a great deal of the whiners are prepared to pay double the price for that new tablet or smartphone, whoever makes it and therefore are the ones responsible for what the workers are paid. Its the consumer that ultimately pushes the price down that forces companies to source cheaper costs offshore and hence are ultimately responsible for the workers wages and conditions.

    • No, it is fully the brand’s responsibility to monitor all their contractors and KNOW where their parts are being made and how. A multi million dollar brand can and should do that. There is no excuse for them, no matter how far removed the executives are from the workers. I will NOT excuse them.

    • Thank you – you are so correct all written. This article smells of anti-Americanism. This is bad – poor countries are envious of the United States – and themselves too lazy to work – they want everything for free.

      • Excuse-me?! I don`t care about much of the things said above, I consider APPLE a real scam if I am to ask but this is a different story. What do you exactly mean ” poor countries are envious of the USA ” and ” they want everything for free” ? That was embarrassing to read! Really? Do you truly believe America is the heaven on earth and everyone wants to be like them?! Well, I was born in a once very rich country,things have changed over the time so now it has got to be one poor country but trust me, I pray for the bottom of my heart that my country never gets to be what America is today. This is not an attack to your own self, so don`t get offended but I considere that saying ” poor countries are envious of the US” it`s a huge thing! And furtheron we don`t talk about countriees or whatever, we are human so am I, so are you and so is the chinese man so it has no importance at all who comes from where, the country of origin has nothing to do with the human condition. There is a huge problem at a global level, there are not left too many human on this planet but there are way too many people!

  4. Bullshit. These companies do not belong to Apple. This Chinese companies and that they do not pay their workers! We also paid $ 1 per hour in Russia, so what? It is normal for us …

  5. And while the “Apple Brand” is defended in these comments, the workers still remain slaves.

    The blame for the deplorable conditions that these people exist in, rests squarely on the shoulders of the consumer. Our insatiable appetite for new shiny product(s) is the cause of this hell for these workers. This, partnered with the government of China for enticing or coercing their citizens to come and work at the factory and then not enforcing regulations about worker safety. Partnered with the contractor that Apple, and other tech companies use, such as Foxconn and Pegatron. And finally, partnered with Apple, HP, LG and others.

    Anyone, who feels that any of these government or corporate entities is blameless in the plight of these workers, is simply blaming the victim. And that is the most despicable thing anyone can do.

  6. These people make a low wage compared to us Americans, and maybe even the rest of the world. But as long as they are not coerced into working for these company, they are clearly acting on there own free will to work there because there are no better alternatives. Plus you can say these companies like apple are so bad because these people are hardly making anything, but imagine what there life would be like without these factories. They might not have a job, that means no money and no way to support there family, so in a way the companies are helping them.

    • One of the main objectives of the Lear Jet fringe is to bring all workers under their predatory control to see that life itself is a privilege for which we owe them our gratitude,irrespective of monetary rewards.

  7. $1.85 = ¥12.04 per hour.
    average chinese monthly income = ¥4,694.92($721.46) or ¥56,339($8,657.55) per year
    Apple pays ¥3756.48($577.25) per month or ¥45,077.76($6927.05) per year
    It works out to any low income job over here.
    You have to look at the national average and the economy in China,
    A $1.85 may freak you out here, but over there it’s like working fast food.

  8. Not a fan of apple but they are on a better wage than my translator was when I worked there. The school paid her $400 (that was under 2 days wage for me) a month and she had 2 days off and worked 15 hr days. 10-12 with me and the rest for the school. She was still able to eat well but if she wanted anything extra, I would help her out. But the school could never know or she would get fired.

  9. IPhones are one of the greatest achievements in the 21st century. It seems all of our daily functions are becoming dependent on IPhones. It wakes us up in the morning and entertains us at night. One factor the consumer does not realize is how the product is made and who makes it. Some people have the general assumption that it is made in a factory and put on the self, but there is another side of the company few people know about. It is amazing that one of the greatest phone companies covers up their dirty little secret well. The conditions of the workers is unsettling. The employees earn about $300 a month including overtime compared to a restaurant employee who works part-time for the same pay in two weeks in America. Apple should have been monitoring their supply chains from the beginning to ensure safe working conditions instead of finding cheap labor. China should change the cost of living so workers can make ends meet. Working 60 hours or more a week can alter the mind and body. There are several news reports about IPhone workers jumping out the window to their deaths. The solution to the problem was fixed by adding nets underneath the windows, so no one would commit suicide. No one’s life is worth losing a few dollars over.


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