Was Your iPhone X Built Illegally By Teens Working Overtime At Foxconn?

Foxconn, Apple's primary supplier in Asia, has been using students to assemble the newly-released iPhone X, according to the Financial Times, even making them illegally work overtime. Nonprofit advocacy group China Labor Watch for years has reported violations at Apple suppliers, including forcing workers to work 150 hours of overtime per month, employing underage and student workers for dismal wages, and exposing workers to toxic chemicals without appropriate training.

Six high-schoolers told FT that they are regularly working 11-hour days at a factory in Zhengzhou, China, constructing the iPhone X. The time parameters exceed China's legally mandated amount student interns are permitted to work.

Citing several teenagers involved, the daily claimed that students in one of Foxconn's plants in China were made to work 11-hour shifts as part of a three month voluntary internship program billed as "work experience", working longer than Chinese law permits.

Apple said an audit has turned up "instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China", adding "we've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime". The investigation didn't mention how many days the students are required to work but stated that their hours violated Chinese law, which prohibits student interns from working more than 40 hours per week. "The work has nothing to do with our studies", Ms Yang said.

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.

One student claimed to assemble as many as 1,200 iPhone X handsets a day. Representatives of the school still has not commented on the situation.

It's usual for Foxconn to take on temporary workers in peak iPhone season, including students, but the FT reports that more seasonal workers than usual were recruited as Foxconn tried to make up for lost time on iPhone X production. Despite that framing, the Times report doesn't establish a clear or direct connection between these events.

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.


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