The state of Karnataka in southern India recently relaxed its labor laws, and it is reported that Apple and Foxconn were lobbying behind the scenes.
According to Deccan Herald, the Karnataka assembly on March 1 passed a labor law that permits 12-hour-shift production and allows women to work at night.
Financial Times quoted three unnamed sources saying that Foxconn and Apple were among the groups lobbying for the relaxation of labor laws, which gives Karnataka one of India's most flexible working regimes.
Besides, an unnamed government official told Financial Times that India is due to become the next big manufacturing hub, and India has to increase its work output by a large margin compared with other countries.
According to Financial Times and Deccan Herald, Karnataka's labor code change increased a worker's legitimate working hours from nine to twelve for four consecutive days before taking three days off. Allowable overtime hours were increased from 75 to 145 over a three-month period. In addition, the law allows women to work between 7:00pm and 6:00am, subject to certain safety measures that employers must implement, such as transport facilities equipped with CCTV and GPS.
The Economic Times reported in early 2022 that India was planning to change its labor codes to attract more suppliers to invest in India, especially for them to set up manufacturing plants of up to 100,000 employees. Another report by The Economic Times mentioned that officials from India's labor ministry and the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology had talked about labor, housing, and industrial zone regulations for manufacturing units of over 40,000 employees, saying that campus housing as desired by the industry was not permitted under India's laws.
Amid India's eagerness to build a local electronics manufacturing ecosystem, the female workforce will play a larger role. Employees that Foxconn hired in China and India were primarily women. Ola Electric, India's largest electric two-wheeler brand, said it would build the world's largest women-only factory in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.