According to the Financial Times, students working at the Foxconn plant, as part of a three month “work experience” placement, were routinely working 11-hour days assembling the newest phone, breaking Chinese overtime laws in the process.
Student labour is common, and legal, in manufacturing hubs in China. The students must be paid, and the placements must be voluntary, with the number of temporary workers swelling employment at the Zhengzhou factory threefold in the busiest time of the year, the paper reported.
But, according to the Financial Times, such work experience should be limited to just 40 hours a week. Six high school students, out of a group of 3,000 from one vocational school sent to work at the factory, told the that those legal limits were exceeded.
In a statement, Apple said: “During the course of a recent audit, we discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China. We?EU?ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.”
“At this facility, student intern programs are short term and account for a very small percentage of the workforce. When we found that some students were allowed to work overtime, we took prompt action. A team of specialists are on site at the facility working with the management on systems to ensure the appropriate standards are adhered to.”
“Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We know our work is never done and we?EU?ll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain.”