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Teens Working Illegal Overtime to Assemble iPhones
December 18 2017, 02:43 | Alonzo Simpson
Workers at a Foxconn facility in 2010
The students, aged 17 to 19, said that they were being "forced" to complete the three-month internship as a requirement for graduation. One student told the FT they were being forced to work there, and that the work had nothing to do with their studies.
Apple supplier Foxconn is in hot water over allegations it uses student workers illegally to manufacture parts for the new iPhone X. However, Apple conducted an audit and told the publication, "We've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime".
Foxconn also admitted it allowed the students to work beyond the maximum regulated hours. At the time Cook and senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said in an internal email they were "deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way". They assembled the iPhone X in 11-hour work shifts; under Chinese law, students can only work eight hours a day. They were part of a group of 3,000 students from the Urban Rail Transit School.
"All work was voluntary and compensated appropriately", a factory spokesperson said.
In March 2012, three other Foxconn plants in China were found to have violated many health and safety regulations, exceeded legal working hours - with some workers working as much as 11 days in a row - and been over-dependent on student labour.
Apple and Foxconn said they were taking remedial action. The education ministry of the province in which these students studied and worked had asked local vocational schools to send students to Foxconn, according to one of Financial Times' sources. "The issue remains unresolved as the company has production targets to meet".
Foxconn is Apple's primary supplier in Asia.
Read the full article at the Financial Times.
Further outrage met the company and Apple when the response to workers jumping from buildings was to hang large nets rather than address the accompanying complaints of harsh working conditions and large quotas.
Apple confirmed the report in a statement to the Times but denied the work was compulsory.