Campaigners are lobbying for better working conditions at Apple’s factories; Foxconn plants in China. Campaigners claim they employ tens of thousands of students, as young as 16, across China and force them to man production lines under the impression they are interning with the company.
Foxconn factories responsible for making Apple products like iPhone accused of forced internships
An independent audit found labor law violations at Foxconn plants. The chairman of Foxconn has promised to reduce working hours and increase the pay. However, campaigners say Apple, Foxconn and the Fair Labour Association (FLS) ignored the issue of forced internships. Students are told they have to spend months working on production lines during the holidays or they will not graduate.
Debby Cheng, the project officer of Student and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) believed the Foxconn audit did not address vital issues and tried to water down the issue of forced internships.
Students are sometimes required to work up to 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. They claim their colleges and universities act as “labour agencies”, sending them to work at Foxconn plants to reinforce the factories workforce during the summer and winter holidays under the false assumption they are sent for training.
According to FLA, during peak periods, up to 5.7% of the 68,000 workforce comprised of interns. Interns work both overtime and night shifts – a violation of regulations governing internships. Standard working hours according to Chinese law states employees should not work for more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. However the standard working hours at Foxconn are 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. The argument is that this is hard to implement as interns are not considered employees.