Wednesday, April 14, 2021

iPhone Supplier Admits to Hiring Underage Workers

Apple supplier Foxconn is embroiled in yet another scandal related to working conditions at one of its factories in China. This time, Foxconn itself uncovered underage interns working at its facility in Yantai.

USA Today ran an AP story about the scandal, which read, “The company that manufactures Apple’s iPhone said Tuesday it found underage interns as young as 14 working at one of its factories in China. Foxconn Technology Group said the interns were found by a company investigation at its factory in the eastern city of Yantai and were sent back to their schools. China’s minimum legal working age is 16.”

CNET’s Don Reisinger quoted watchdog group China Labor Watch, which said, “These underage interns were mainly sent to Foxconn by schools, but Foxconn did not check the IDs of these young interns.” It added. “The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible, but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers.”

In an e-mail, Foxconn told Bloomberg Businessweek, “Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated.” It continued, “We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action.”

Adario Strange from PCMag noted, “Foxconn partners with a number of vocational schools and other educational institutions for internships that range from three to six months, with most working about 3.5 months. Approximately 2.7 percent of Foxconn’s 1.2 million employees in China are interns, the company said.”

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