Foxconn and Apple face controversy over student worker overtime claims ars_ab.settitle(1208557)

22 November 2017, 12:18 | Andres Norman

A Foxconn facility in China

A Foxconn facility in China

Apple has confirmed a Financial Times report that high school students interning at Foxconn exceeded their legal hours while working on the iPhone X production line.

The students were reportedly told they must complete the "work experience" if they wanted to graduate.

Six high school students told the Financial Times that they routinely worked 11-hour days, beyond the 40-hour work week limit allowed for student interns under Chinese law.

"We are being forced by our school to work here", one student, who was made to assemble 1200 iPhone X cameras a day, told the FT.

Apple has confirmed that the students worked illegal overtime, but deny claims that the students were forced.

Foxconn said that "all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy" prohibiting student interns working more than 40 hours a week. "The work has nothing to do with our studies", Ms. Yang added, noting that she's now training to become a train attendant.

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This isn't the first time Apple has been under fire for the working conditions of its suppliers.

While certainly damning, the report also highlights the need for Apple and its partners to implement additional measures to protect their workers.

This is illegal for student interns under Chinese law.

One 18-year-old student claimed to work on the assembly of up to 1200 iPhone X units per day, and said that participation in the scheme was compulsory. "From Apple's actions, it seems like they don't care about the labor standards they set previously", said Li Qiang, founder of New York-based advocacy group China Labor Watch, which monitors working conditions in Apple's supply chain. Foxconn reportedly said that its internship program was carried out in co-operation with local governments and a number of vocational schools in China. "The issue remains unresolved as the company has production targets to meet". Despite that framing, the Times report doesn't establish a clear or direct connection between these events. Both companies said the students were working voluntarily, according to the FT.

Foxconn and Apple later took measures to try to make the factory more comfortable and to reduce the amount of overtime from employees, though there have been several reports of worker suicides since.



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