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WMGroomAK

iPhone X parts assembled with student labor, potential labor law violations?

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Saw this article and thought it was interesting as it exposes a side to our modern day electronics manufacturing that most of us probably realize but try to ignore...  According to a report from the Financial Times, six high school students are alleging that they are among a group of 3,000 students that would routinely work 11-hour days assembling iPhone Xs at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China, which is in violation of policies that prohibit student interns of working more than 40-hours a week.  According to the report, the provincial education minister had issued a notice to all the vocational schools in the province to send their 'work experience students' to work at Foxconn factories.  Both Apple and Foxconn say that an audit has turned up these instances of interns working overtime, however the students were compensated and provided benefits and were working voluntarily.  Both companies are also looking into remedial actions to correct this.

 

https://www.ft.com/content/7cb56786-cda1-11e7-b781-794ce08b24dc

 

Quote

Apple’s main supplier in Asia has been employing students illegally working overtime to assemble the iPhone X, as it struggles to catch up with demand after production delays. 

Six high school students told the Financial Times they routinely work 11-hour days assembling the iPhone X at a factory in Zhengzhou, China, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.

The six said they were among a group of 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School sent in September to work at the local facility run by Taiwan-based Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn.

The students, aged 17 to 19, said they were told that a three-month stint at the factory was required “work experience” that they had to complete in order 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. “The work has nothing to do with our studies.” She said she assembled up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras a day.

The school declined to comment.

When contacted about the students’ complaints, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged they had discovered cases of student interns working overtime and said they were taking remedial action. But both companies said the students were working voluntarily.

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”. 

Foxconn said that “all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy” prohibiting student interns working more than 40 hours a week. 
...

But this year, the need for seasonal workers was greater, the employee added.

“The purchasing practices of Apple and others are designed to cut costs, and do things ‘just in time’,” said Jenny Chan, assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “This leads to the use of student labourers who can be flexibly hired.”

Foxconn said its internship programme was “carried out in co-operation with local governments and a number of vocational schools in China”. 

The education ministry of Henan, where Zhengzhou is the capital, issued notices to all vocational schools in the central Chinese province to send their “work experience students” to Foxconn, according to a person who saw the notice. 

Students also came from the nearby cities of Kaifeng, Nanyang, and Xinxiang, according to a Foxconn employee working on the iPhone X. 

The education ministry could not be reached for comment.

Providing flexible student labour is one of the preferential policies that the Henan government offers Foxconn in order to keep it there. 

“Henan province does everything in its power to make sure Foxconn thrives here. It’s not just about tax revenues — it’s about industrial upgrading, building an export industry, having a foreign partnership [with Apple],” said a local official.

I'm sure that this is not an issue just restrained to Apple and iPhone manufacturing, however it does expose an area where our modern electronic manufacturing could be improved... I'm glad that both Foxconn and Apple admit to this issue but am also leery of whether they will truly implement remedial actions & what those might be as well as to the statement that they are saying the students were working 'voluntarily'.

 

ADDITION: Originally linked to article from CNBC article at: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/21/apple-iphone-x-reportedly-assembled-by-illegal-student-labor.html in case of paywall crap...  Tried to provide as much info from original article as possible though...

 

ADDITIONAL ARTICLE:  Here is Ars Techs article concerning this...

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/11/foxconn-and-apple-face-controversy-over-student-worker-overtime-claims/

Edited by WMGroomAK
added link due to paywall issue
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1 minute ago, Legendarypoet said:

Foxconn seems to literally get away with murder at every turn.

It's China....


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So they'll get a slap on the wrist, and have to apologize. You can't stop a company that large.


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This isn't new. Welcome to the dark side of electronics manufacturing.


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Why does a school require work experience like this? Shouldn't they be doing something in retail, hospice, or medical fields? 


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China seems to be a very two faced country, gets praised for the things they do right and get away with literal murder, cool.

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OMG school students being used for free labor? In merca we called this internship which is (required for some schools) free labor for companies that have no obligation to help after the degree. At least in this case they were compensated, hopefully. 

 

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How long until Dr. Dingus is defending Apple as being a god like deity and that this isn't a big deal?


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23 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

How long until Dr. Dingus is defending Apple as being a god like deity and that this isn't a big deal?

Once we have more companies willing to join the market and demonstrating moral/ethical practices? I find nearly every large company being open to scrutiny and they know they're far beyond the reach of any government (like Nike's sweat shops and their legions of midnight release drones for the latest Kobe Bryant sneakers). 

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5 hours ago, WMGroomAK said:

Both Apple and Foxconn say that an audit has turned up these instances of interns working overtime, however the students were compensated and provided benefits and were working voluntarily.

So whats the problem? 

 

Apparently Apple was either not aware of what FoxConn was doing or no longer wants it to continue after this PR broke.

 

Sounds to me like a School wanted some kids to have work experience and said work experience was voluntary and the ones that worked overtime were compensated.

 

Should kids be working on electronics assembly lines? No, probably not, but were they forced into it either? No.

 

So again,....wha? 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

Sounds to me like a School wanted some kids to have work experience and said work experience was voluntary and the ones that worked overtime were compensated. 

Except when you have students from a school focused on Urban Rail transit who are working in the factory that say:

 

Quote

The students, aged 17 to 19, said they were told that a three-month stint at the factory was required “work experience” that they had to complete in order 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. “The work has nothing to do with our studies."

As well as information that the Vocational Schools were ordered by the Provincial Education Minister to send their 'work experience students' to work at the factory.  That seems to be a bit more than voluntary work experience...  How does working at Foxconn assembling cellphone cameras help someone gain work experience on an Urban Transit system?

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1 minute ago, WMGroomAK said:

Except when you have students from a school focused on Urban Rail transit who are working in the factory that say:

 

As well as information that the Vocational Schools were ordered by the Provincial Education Minister to send their 'work experience students' to work at the factory.  That seems to be a bit more than voluntary work experience...  How does working at Foxconn assembling cellphone cameras help someone gain work experience on an Urban Transit system?

Then this is a problem with the School, not FoxConn nor Apple. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

Then this is a problem with the School, not FoxConn nor Apple. 

IMO, this is a problem with the provincial government, Foxconn, the school and Apple (and other companies relying on Foxconn), in that order...  It sounds like the government issues these kind of decisions to carry favor and keep the Foxconn factories thriving, which then necessitates the schools to follow through with the governments orders, however the government would probably not be quite as strong arm in this if Apple and the other companies that rely on Foxconn products were to be more diligent about ensuring these practices don't happen and swap vendors when they do...

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36 minutes.

 

@ARikozuM Did the thing you say happen yet?


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@ARikozuM Did the thing you say happen yet?

Nope. 


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Just now, ARikozuM said:

Nope. 

So, you were wrong, Neko-kun.


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Break off your chains

And look what I've found in the dirt.

 

Pale battered body

Seems she was struggling

Something is wrong with this world.

 

Fierce Bloody Angel

The blood is on your hands

Why did you come to this world?

 

Everybody turns to dust.

 

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The blood is on your hands.

 

The blood is on your hands!

 

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21 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

So, you were wrong, Neko-kun.

Not wrong, just early. 

 

By a couple hundred years. 


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1 hour ago, DrMacintosh said:

So whats the problem? 

 

Apparently Apple was either not aware of what FoxConn was doing or no longer wants it to continue after this PR broke.

 

Sounds to me like a School wanted some kids to have work experience and said work experience was voluntary and the ones that worked overtime were compensated.

 

Should kids be working on electronics assembly lines? No, probably not, but were they forced into it either? No.

 

So again,....wha? 

 

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@Drak3 xD

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