Apple Acknowledges 'Illegal Overtime' Employment of HS Students

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Apple's longtime manufacturing partner Foxconn has reportedly been employing students to work overtime illegally at its factories for assembling the iPhone X. The Financial Times has heard from six high school students in China who told the scribe that they regularly work 11-hour days to assemble Apple's new flagship device. Another source says the local education ministry issued notices asking all vocational schools in the province to send "work experience students" to Foxconn. Additionally, according to one of the students cited in the report, a school had students working at the factory as part of their educational programs.

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The "Foxconn City" park outside of Shenzhen came under worldwide scrutiny in 2010 after media reports about 18 suicide attempts and 14 deaths that year. The long working hours breach domestic laws regarding student interns. The students, who were between the ages of 17 and 19, claim they were forced to work at the controversial factory for three months in order to graduate. In the Apple and Foxconn said that all the students came to work voluntarily, they all got insurance and pay. Foxconn said it has taken action to correct the situation and will review the internship program to ensure that it's in compliance and that the event "will not be repeated". "A team of specialists are on site at the facility working with the management on systems to ensure the appropriate standards are adhered to". "The work has nothing to do with our studies", she continued, adding that she assembles up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras on a daily basis. 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. But Apple's statement, which Ars Technica has in full, insists the students "worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits", while Foxconn's statement echoes that "all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately". During this period, staff numbers at the Zhengzhou factory can triple from 100,000 to more than 300,000, the employee reportedly told The Financial Times. However, this year the company released two new iPhones for the first time, putting extra pressure on its suppliers and assemblers to churn out millions of handsets ahead of the key holiday shopping season.