Apple supplier stops students' illegal overtime at iPhone X factory

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Apple supplier stops students' illegal overtime at iPhone X factory

Last week a Financial Times story detailed the life of six interns who were forced to work 11 hours per day at an iPhone X assembly plant in Henan Province, China.

Apple and Foxconn have been accused of poor labour practices in the past, but the US technology giant has been trying to get a grip of such issues, releasing annual reviews of the iPhone supply chain.

This "work experience" was a graduation requirement for the school, which meant the students were forced to labor if they wanted a diploma. Under Chinese law, children are prevented from working over forty hours a week.

Peter Nicholls  Reuters
Students said they were forced to work at the factory in order to graduate. Apple has denied that the program wasn't voluntary
Peter Nicholls Reuters Students said they were forced to work at the factory in order to graduate. Apple has denied that the program wasn't voluntary

Undoubtedly, the pressure to deliver the new iPhone X alongside two other new iPhone models would have added to the labour overhead required to meet that demand - and using interns to assemble them isn't illegal in China in itself, but allowing them to work overtime is.

Both Apple and Foxconn confirmed such cases of students working overtime and are now looking into the complaints. According to its 2017 Supplier Responsibility report, Apple only found one underage worker-"a 15½ year old" where the legal working age is 16-in its supply chain audit, and the company moved quickly to address it.

A new report from the Financial Timesdetails exploitative business practices at Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn. From July through September, more than 46 million iPhones were sold worldwide. iPhone X (with X being the Latin number for "ten") marks the iPhone's 10 anniversary. It has agreed that the overtime work violated its own policy that prohibits students from working more than 40 hours a week. The interns also constitute "a very small percentage of the workforce", the representative said. "All three Pegatron factories require workers to do overtime, especially during busy seasons", the report stated, in response to Apple's claims then that overtime work was voluntary. "Underage workers often enter the factories as student "interns" required to work at the factories by vocational schools".

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