Technology

Underage Interns Found at iPhone Manufacturer Plant

Apple’s iPhone manufacturer has admitted to hiring interns as young as 14 at one of its China factories.

Foxconn Technology Group said the underage interns — the legal working age in China is 16 — were found during a company investigation at its factory. The interns, who worked at the company for three weeks, were sent back to their schools. It was not revealed how many interns were involved.

“An internal investigation carried out by our company has confirmed media reports in China that some participants in the short-term student internship program that is administered at our campus in Yantai, Shandong Province are under the legal working age of 16 years,” Foxconn said in a statement e-mailed to several media outlets Oct. 16.

“This is not only a violation of China’s labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.”

Foxconn said it is investigating the matter in co-operation with the schools attended by the interns “to determine how this happened and the actions that must be taken by our company to ensure that it can never happen again.”

While China Labor Watch reported the teens were sent to Foxconn by their schools, it also confirmed the company did not checks the students’ IDs.

“The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsibility, but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers,” the agency said in a statement. “China Labor Watch calls on the Chinese government to improve the current intern system of Chinese schools.

Foxconn said it takes “full responsibility” for the labor violations, adding it has “apologized to each of the students for our role in this action.”

“Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated.”

Foxconn has teamed up with various vocational schools and other educational institutions to offer internships that range from three to six months. Roughly 2.7 percent of Foxconn’s 1.2 million employees in China are interns, the company said.

According to PC.com, a variety of reports of stressful work conditions, long hours and overcrowded living quarters as well as rumors about underage workers at Foxconn have been circulating for months, but the company has refuted accusations of wrondoing — until now.

Foxconn makes iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc. and also constructs goods for Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. The company did not specify what items were made in the sections where the interns worked.

 

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.