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Govt seeks report on claims of discrimination at Foxconn’s iPhone plant

In response to media reports alleging that married women are being barred from working at Foxconn’s Sriperumbudur iPhone assembly plant, the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Wednesday, June 26, sought a detailed report from the Tamil Nadu government’s labour department.

“Section 5 of the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 clearly stipulates that no discrimination shall be made while recruiting men and women workers. As the state government is the appropriate authority for the enforcement and administration of the provisions of this Act, the report has been sought from the state government,” the Ministry of Labour & Employment said in a statement.

Additionally, the office of the Regional Chief Labour Commissioner has been directed to provide a factual report to the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India, according to the statement.

A Reuters report claims that Foxconn, a key manufacturer of Apple devices, has been excluding married women from assembly jobs at its Sriperumbudur iPhone assembly plant in Tamil Nadu. This practice contradicts the codes of conduct for both companies, which explicitly prohibit discrimination based on marital status.

The Reuters investigation, published on June 25, revealed that Foxconn discriminates against married women by rejecting their job applications, citing their “greater family responsibilities compared to unmarried counterparts” as the reason.

The report mentioned the case of two sisters in their 20s, Parvathi and Janaki, who traveled to the Foxconn plant in March 2023 after seeing job ads on WhatsApp. Upon arrival, a security guard asked them if they were married. “We didn’t get the jobs as we both are married,” Parvathi recounted, according to the Reuters report.

Even the auto-rickshaw driver who took them to the facility warned them that married women were not hired, according to the report.

“Ministry of Labour and Employment has taken note of various media reports claiming that married women are not being allowed to work at Foxconn India Apple iPhone plant. In light of these reports, the Ministry has requested a detailed report from the Labour Department of the Tamil Nadu Government,” according to the official statement on June 26. News18

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