The Taiwanese government has announced the opening of an investigation into allegations that employees of an Apple supplier were forced to resign. The case would have happened at Career Technology, which manufactures flexible circuit boards used in the iPhone’s antennas, and would be a way for the company to avoid paying large sums in benefits to workers.
The wave of layoffs would be a reflection of the fall in global demand for Apple’s smartphone, which would have led to a cut in the orders for components while Apple suits lower than expected sales numbers. As a result, suppliers also cut jobs, such as Career Technology.
According to the complaint, the company would have submitted three options to employees: dismissal, retirement or voluntary departure. However, only the latter would be effectively being applied by the company, with the investigation now trying to ascertain whether the supplier forced the workers to go that way or used misleading information to make it appear that this would be the best choice for them.
In response to local media, Career Technology dismissed the case as a misunderstanding and denied having forced employees to resign. The company confirmed that Apple’s declining order volume resulted in layoffs that would have affected only 20 to 30 employees. A portion of this total would have been transferred to other units of the company, while the remainder was effectively disposed of, with all benefits being paid.
However, the information contrasts with documents submitted by the supplier to the country’s ministry of labor, citing the dismissal of 59 people between January 29 and 31. This will also be one more of the assessments to be made by the country’s government, which wants to understand the reasons behind the discrepancy between declarations, denunciations and official reports.
Since November last year, nearly 500 people were reportedly fired from Career Technology’s Asia factories, a strong reflection of how much lower iPhone sales have shaken relations between Apple and its suppliers. The company says most of the layoffs were temporary workers joining the company’s staff to help increase demand during and after the launch of a new generation of smartphones. The cuts of the time, however, came well before expected.