Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner is now under investigation after it’s been uncovered that it is breaking local labor laws. The Chinese factory is housing student workers, who ‘voluntarily’ work up to 11 hours a day disguised as an internship program.
The use of student ‘volunteers’ was employed by Hon Hai Precision Co Ltd, also known as Foxconn, as an attempt to meet the excess of demand around the new flagship iPhone X smartphones. The Financial Times reports that over 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School were forced to work long days under the guise of a voluntary internship program.
Confirming that choice was never a part of the plan is Ms Yang, an 18-year-old student that stated: “If I don't stay I won't graduate school, but my body can't take it… My mum says if I can't stand it, maybe I can leave school and work with my dad.”
Foxconn admitted to breaking the law by allowing students to work overtime. “Our policies do not allow interns to work more than 40 hours per week on program-related assignments,” says the company.” Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where portions of our campuses have not adhered to this policy.” Furthermore, Foxconn states that the interns are only a small part of its large workforce.
Swift action was taken by Apple when this information came to light, as it has sent its own staff to the site to address the abuse of these laws.
This is not the first time that both Apple and Foxconn have been criticised for its use of underage workers and excessive use of overtime. While the age of worked has steadily balanced over the years, the fact that both companies have used underage workers in the assembling and even mining of minerals for the iPhone brand is unsettling.
The use of interns in Foxconn’s case is, in fact, legal in China. It is simply the abuse of working hours by making them work overtime that is breaking the law.
KitGuru Says: Even with the increasing overheads given the demand, you’d think that the companies could work together in a more efficient, legal solution. Of course, this isn’t the only unethical practice in the production of technology, but these are billion dollar companies in question, there’s no excuse. Does this make you question buying an iPhone X?