Foxconn Uses Illegal Student Labor to Build iPhone X

Foxconn Uses Illegal Student Labor to Build iPhone X

Apple and its supplier Foxconn found that students worked overtime illegally to build the iPhone X, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Apple confirmed that an audit revealed illegal overtime by student interns, but denied that they were forced to participate.

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.

"We are being forced by our school to work here", said Ms Yang, an 18-year-old student training to be a train attendant who declined to use her first name for fear of punishment.

They said that in their institution received an order to provide students to work at the plant for the production of the iPhone X. More than three thousand students went to work.

Foxconn also admitted it allowed the students to work beyond the maximum regulated hours. "The work has nothing to do with our studies".

Apple's supply chain has faced criticism over poor labor standards for years, and the company has pushed manufacturing partners to improve factory conditions or risk losing business. While Apple has a 60-hour workweek limit for suppliers, with at least one rest day every week, the students were supposed to have a 40-hour cap.

Foxconn noted that its policies prohibit interns from working more than 40 hours per week, however the iPhone-builder acknowledged the policy violation and said it's working with Apple to ensure history doesn't repeat itself.

Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

"All work was voluntary and compensated appropriately", a factory spokesperson said. 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. Both companies said the students were working voluntarily, according to the FT. Despite that framing, the Times report doesn't establish a clear or direct connection between these events.

Compared to past infractions, the overtime issue might seem relatively minor, but Apple and Foxconn are under intense scrutiny due to prior problems.

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