Apple supplier Foxconn says it has stopped interns from working illegal overtime at its factory in China, after reports emerged that at least six students worked eleven-hour days on iPhone X production lines.

Today's announcement follows a Financial Times report earlier this week that revealed around 3,000 students worked at its iPhone X assembly plant in Zhengzhou, as the firm struggles to catch up with demand for the smartphone after production delays.

foxconn iphone production

A worker assembles iPhones in a Foxconn factory

Apple on Tuesday said an audit had confirmed "instances" of student interns working overtime at the supplier facility in Henan province, and both Apple and Foxconn said they would take remedial action to stop the practice, which breaches Chinese laws preventing children from working more than 40 hours per week.

"Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve," the tech giant said today in a statement given to the BBC. "We know our work is never done and we'll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain."

Foxconn, which operates the intern program, told the BBC in a statement that it had taken "immediate action to ensure that no interns are carrying out any overtime work". It added that "interns represent a very small percentage" of its workforce in China and that the breach of labour laws was inconsistent with its own policies.

Foxconn is thought to hire large numbers of seasonal workers each year to assemble the latest iPhone models in time for the busy holiday shopping season. The FT report, citing an anonymous Foxconn employee, said there can be up to 20,000 workers producing up to 300,000 iPhones per day. However, this year it appears the manufacturer has found it particularly challenging to keep up with demand for the iPhone X, which Apple has described as being "off the charts".

As per its supplier responsibility efforts, Apple requires manufacturing partners like Foxconn to limit working hours to no more than 60 hours a week, with a mandatory rest day once every seven days.

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Tag: Foxconn
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

gnasher729 Avatar
63 months ago
I think some common sense is needed here. There were no children involved. In the UK, for employment someone under 14 is a child and not allowed to work. Someone below school leaving age is allowed to do light work. Someone above school leaving age but below 18 is allowed to work 40 hours a week. At 18, that person is an adult and there are no limits on work time except for EU law. On the other hand, the UK is a country that allows ****** "zero-hour contracts", in other words, you never know how many hours you will work and how much money you will be paid in any week. It might be zero - that's what "zero hours" means. Try to live with that.

The people that we are talking about here are 17 to 19 years old. So the 18 and 19 years old are legally allowed to work overtime. There is an agreement between Apple and Foxconn that interns are not allowed to work overtime. If an 18 or 19 year old intern works overtime, that's in breach of their agreement, but not illegal.

And a 17 year old? They were offered overtime - which shouldn't have happened. The voluntarily accepted that offer, worked overtime, and got paid for it. Compare that to the USA, where companies _love_ to declare their employees as exempt, which means in practice unvoluntary and unpaid overtime. Many employees in the USA would be only to happy if their boss had to ask them if they want to do overtime and they could say "no", and if their boss then had to pay for that overtime.

They only acted when they got found out. Thank heavens for investigative journalists.
Well, they got found out because Apple performs regular audits, and some eagle eyed auditor paid by Apple or Foxconn spotted that some interns did overtime. No investigative journalist involved in this.

What makes this sweatshop labor situation even more disgusting is that it is intentionally ignored by Apple's SJW CEO Tim Cook who simultaneously engages in constant virtue signaling.
Yes, Apple's CEO, who is ordering and paying for the audits and then reporting when something wrong is found, is obviously intentionally ignoring this. Without Apple's audits, you wouldn't have heard of this.

maybe apple should re-evaluate foxconn. it’s frustrating these reports keep surfacing.
These reports keep surfacing because Apple performs audits and publishes the results. Foxconn has over a million employees. If these six are the only problematic cases, then Foxconn is a shining example that many, many employers should try to follow.

This would never happen in the USA.
Do you actually believe this? Seriously? In the USA, where in most places an employee can be fired on the spot because the boss doesn't like his face, this isn't happening? Look at this report: https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/fair-dismissal-for-refusal-to-work-christmas-overtime/ Apparently, in the USA you don't have the right to refuse overtime.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonnysods Avatar
63 months ago
How benevolent of Foxconn. They only stopped it when they got busted.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThomasJL Avatar
63 months ago
What makes this sweatshop labor situation even more disgusting is that it is intentionally ignored by Apple's SJW CEO Tim Cook who simultaneously engages in constant virtue signaling.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roberthodgson Avatar
63 months ago
“said there can be up to 300,000 workers producing up to 20,000 iPhones per day.”
I think you reversed the numers at 20,000 phones per day Apple would be backordered for years
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iPhysicist Avatar
63 months ago
That’s the spirit! You can achieve everything in life if you work hard enough. That’s how you get this iPhone X backlog down to zero within weeks. Thank you Chinese students for your service! Thank you.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nxent Avatar
63 months ago
maybe apple should re-evaluate foxconn. it’s frustrating these reports keep surfacing.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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