22 November, 2017
Apple confirmed that an audit revealed illegal overtime by student interns, but denied that they were forced to participate.
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.
The Financial Times interviewed six students, aged 17 to 19, who claim that the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School is forcing them to work at the factory for three months in order to fulfill the "work experience" requirement to graduate. The students that the FT spoke to all volunteered to work overtime and they were paid for it illegally.
A spokesperson for Foxconn said students were not forced to work but did concede some campuses broke the rules on overtime.
"This work has nothing to do with our studies".
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In its statement, Foxconn said, "All work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy".
Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Foxconn worked with local governments and vocational institutions to organize the internship program. She added that she is made to assemble up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras each day. Representatives of the school still has not commented on the situation. According to those reports, the company and its production partners were struggling to keep up with their shipment goals on the phone. Both companies said the students were working voluntarily, according to the FT.
In its 2013 report, China Labor Watch found conditions in factories run by Pegatron, another major Apple supplier, similar to those uncovered by the Financial Times.
Compared to past infractions, the overtime issue might seem relatively minor, but Apple and Foxconn are under intense scrutiny due to prior problems.
Of course, this wouldn't be the first time Apple and Foxconn have been called out for their unsavory employment practices - which have historically focused on the schedules and otherwise impure working conditions faced by Foxconn's factory workers in the Far East.