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Foxconn admits to hiring interns as young as 14 years old

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Foxconn on Tuesday revealed an internal investigation found the company illegally hired some underage workers as young as 14 years old, and said that immediate measures have been taken to resolve the issue.

In a statement provided to CNet, Foxconn said some of the interns working at its Yantai facility in Shandong Province ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old. Those employees were hired illegally, as China's legal minimum working age is 16.

Foxconn said the company takes "full responsibility" for the violations. Officials have also apologized to each of the students. The company also vowed to "immediately" terminate any employee who was responsible for the underage hirings.

"This is not only a violation of China's labor law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions," Foxconn's statement reads. "We are also carrying out a full investigation, in cooperation with the respective educational institutions, to determine how this happened and the actions that must be taken by our company to ensure that it can never happen again."

Foxconn


The electronics assembly company was quick to issue a statement after workers' rights advocacy group China Labor Watch published its own press release revealing that Foxconn had hired interns between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. The group said a "small number of student interns employed in the summer" were underage workers.

"These underage interns were mainly sent to Foxconn by schools, but Foxconn did not check the IDs of these young interns," China Labor Watch said. "The schools involved in this incident should take primary (responsibility), but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers."

Foxconn is responsible for the assembly of electronics for a number of companies, but its relationship with Apple has come under particular scrutiny as Apple's popular iPhone and iPad have made the company the largest in the world by market capitalization.

Apple conducts its own annual audits of its overseas suppliers, and in 2011 it found that one facility had employed 42 underage workers. Business with that provider was immediately terminated. A report published earlier this year found no evidence of underage labor in 229 audits.

Tim Cook at Foxconn


But in February, some Foxconn workers claimed that their company had hidden underage employees before an independent audit was conducted by the Fair Labor Association. The workers were allegedly transferred to other departments or were not scheduled to work overtime in order to avoid discovery during recent inspections, the non-governmental organization Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior claimed.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook personally visited a new Foxconn iPhone plant during a trip to Zhengzhou, China, in March. Foxconn employs 120,000 people at the facility visited by Cook.
post #2 of 28
Uh-oh!
post #3 of 28
Interngate!!!
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #4 of 28
It is good when kids learn how to work as a part of their school education. It is much better than learning to drug themselves. I'd only welcome if some kids worked in their holidays somewhere. That gives them a good sense of how the value in life is created.
post #5 of 28

And now I can hear the roar of the approaching herd of trolls.

 

1wink.gif

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectionist View Post

It is good when kids learn how to work as a part of their school education. It is much better than learning to drug themselves. I'd only welcome if some kids worked in their holidays somewhere. That gives them a good sense of how the value in life is created.

You have a point there, but still it's good that Foxconn takes some steps to prevent this in the future.

post #7 of 28

So, AI please tells me something we don't already know about business practices in China? I thought all Apple's manufacturing partners were immune to any labor abuses, and that's one of the reasons why i-gadget users pay premium for Apple products. Premium prices = premium treatment to laborers? No? 

post #8 of 28
There legal minimum working age is 16yo? I started working legally in the US at 14yo. At 15yo I was biking 5 miles one way to get a crappy minimum wage job serving food in an old folks home in the evenings and weekends. How can I sue Apple for this?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #9 of 28
Unfortunately those practices happen in all countries, and may be more common in China. It's a good thing that they acknowledge that and are doing something about it.
post #10 of 28
I was working at 14 years old stocking shelves in a store in Canada. 5 hour shifts on weekday evenings, 9 hour shifts on weekends.
post #11 of 28

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

I was working at 14 years old stocking shelves in a store in Canada. 5 hour shifts on weekday evenings, 9 hour shifts on weekends.

I don't know how old you are but this was around 1990 for me. Not exactly the turn of the industrial age in the US. I saved up thousands of dollars by the time I was 16yo despite minimum being like $3.15 hour or something like that.. In no way do I regret that experience. In fact I'm grateful that someone gave me the opportunity to focus my energy and steer toward a financial goal.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 28

I started working around 12 or maybe 13 with a paper route - and yes it was work.

 

Worked at my church/school at 13 doing odd jobs such as painting, cleaning, changing light ballasts, raking leaves etc.

 

Started working my first "real" job about a month before my 14th birthday at a local Drug Store chain, at $3.60 an hour - sweeping floors, stocking shelves, etc. Started just one night a week and weekends and worked my way up to Pharmacy Tech and Assistant Manager over the years. Saved enough by 16 to buy my first car, a 1964 Pontiac GTO, which I still have almost 30 years later.

post #14 of 28

(with an old voice, possibly texan)

I started working loading coal into trains when I was 9. Then that damn electricity came.
 

post #15 of 28
Help me understand - what's the problem?
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbtinc View Post

Help me understand - what's the problem?

 

There is none.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #17 of 28

Let me guess:

 

1. Apple is doing the most to stop this, and is the most open with the public when problems happen.

 

2. Tons of other companies use Foxconn, and other Chinese firms, do nothing, and sweep it all under the rug.

 

3. Yet this is somehow an Apple problem specifically. Somehow Apple is not the solution, but the problem. Better boycott Apple and buy gadgets from some other Foxconn partner instead!

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

There is none.

 

Mike Daisey will MAKE it a problem.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

 

There is none.

Of course, just because it's legal to work in the US under 16 means that every country that has a different law is stupid, and that FOXCONN shoudn't try to remain inside the legal boundaries.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

Of course, just because it's legal to work in the US under 16 means that every country that has a different law is stupid, and that FOXCONN shoudn't try to remain inside the legal boundaries.

 

What is your point?

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #21 of 28

Checking in. 1smile.gif

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #22 of 28
I started working in the 1980s at a grocery store in the U.S. when I was 13. And many, many others start working at younger ages in the U.S. (both regular jobs and under the table work).

It may be technically against the law in China, but unless this was a sweatshop type of situation where they were working them around the clock, there is really no "newsworthy" story here.
post #23 of 28

Foxconn's excuse is that all Chinese people look 10 years younger than actual age.  They can't tell the difference either. 

 

In CA, there is a sliding scale that determines how many hours a teenager may work legally based on age.  Older you are, more hours you can work.

 

Reference: http://youngworkers.org/teens/index.html#hours

 

12 hour factory shifts are not allowed.
 

post #24 of 28

Disgraceful, now the bloggers are gonna be wanting answers from every single company that Foxconn make devices for.

Amazon, Acer, H&P, Nintendo, Sony etc will all be berated for their use of such a company.

 

Oh no hang on, I'm getting confused.

This will all be Apple's fault, naturally.

post #25 of 28
I started babysitting for neighbours at 14 but spent most of the money I made. 1cool.gif
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I started working around 12 or maybe 13 with a paper route - and yes it was work.

 

Worked at my church/school at 13 doing odd jobs such as painting, cleaning, changing light ballasts, raking leaves etc.

 

Started working my first "real" job about a month before my 14th birthday at a local Drug Store chain, at $3.60 an hour - sweeping floors, stocking shelves, etc. Started just one night a week and weekends and worked my way up to Pharmacy Tech and Assistant Manager over the years. Saved enough by 16 to buy my first car, a 1964 Pontiac GTO, which I still have almost 30 years later.


What you did is work. This is called an internship.  Typically internships are not paid or the people are given an allowance to pay for food/shelter.  The deal is that they get free labour and the people get experience.  I realize that where you grew up, it was legal to work at a younger age but I don't think you had to eat and sleep in a factory and that your parents sent you away because they could not afford to feed you.  Try to think of the situation from their perspective.  You, like I, probably grew up in a very different environment than what some of these workers did.  Your paper route (like mine) probably only took 1 hour to do.  A bit different than working 12 hours shifts for weeks on end.  Congrats on buying your car at 16 though, I had a few friends do that and it was not easy to save that kind of money.

 

This comment is made towards this site in general and not at you lilgto64.   I often joke with my friends that if Apple were to murder 3 people for no reason, the strong Apple loyalists on this site (you know who you are) would defend Apple by saying "Those people deserved it because Apple knows best".  Every technology company has their share of extreme fans and while I sometimes have a chuckle at over some of the innane comments in the Android forums, I come here to just how snobby and condescending humans can be.  In fact, I point my friends to this site sometimes for a good laugh because the views are so extreme and one sided that you would think it was a skit for SNL.

post #27 of 28
Foxconn just released a statement that this particular facility has no connection to work done for Apple.

It apparently does do assembly for some other PeeeCeee vendor.
post #28 of 28
Must be a slow news day.
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