May 23, 2018

Apple says illegal student labour discovered at iPhone X plant

24 November 2017, 01:00 | Camille Rivera

Tuesday Apple Rumors: Students Worked Illegal Hours on iPhone X Assembly Line

iPhone X supplier under fire over student labor

Yang, who prepares to be a train attendant, is among six high school students who told the outlet that they have been working 11-hour days to produce the iPhone X at a Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou city, Henan province. News reports abounded prior to and shortly after the iPhone X's launch claiming that Apple was struggling to manufacture certain parts.

The allegations are doubly problematic for Foxconn as the students claimed they were being forced to work at the factory for three months of "work experience" in order to be allowed to graduate. Under Chinese law, children are prevented from working over forty hours a week. "We've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime", the Apple representative wrote in an email.

The Foxconn Technology Group, which operates an internship programme at the Chinese factory, told the BBC in a statement that it took "immediate action to ensure that no interns are carrying out any overtime work".

Apple and Foxconn have both said that the students were not "forced" to work beyond the hourly limits laid down by law.

An Apple representative told Quartz that the Financial Times' reporting is inaccurate and noted that the students participate in the internship voluntarily. From July through September, more than 46 million iPhones were sold worldwide. iPhone X (with X being the Latin number for "ten") marks the iPhone's 10 anniversary. The interns also constitute "a very small percentage of the workforce", the representative said. Upon the underage worker becoming of legal age, the supplier will be required to provide them with an employment opportunity. Additionally, according to one of the students cited in the report, a school had students working at the factory as part of their educational programs. This is considered as illegal overtime for student interns in China.

Foxconn and Apple have come under scrutiny for conditions and circumstances of labor in China before.

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