Foxconn puts halt to illegal overtime at iPhone X plant

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2017
Apple supplier Foxconn in a statement on Thursday said it has stopped high school interns from working overtime at an iPhone plant in China, a practice that violates the country's labor laws.




According to BBC news, Foxconn is no longer allowing secondary school interns from working more than 40 hours a week.

"Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve," Apple said in a prepared statement. "We know our work is never done and we'll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain."

Earlier this week, a Financial Times report cited accounts of six students who claimed to have regularly worked 11-hour days at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou tasked with building iPhone X units. The interns were reportedly part of a larger group of 3,000 students hired from the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School as part of a three-month paid internship.

At the time, Apple said the interns were working voluntarily and were "compensated and provided benefits." The tech giant did, however, say the students should not have been allowed to put in overtime hours. Foxconn issued a similar statement, saying the group was compensated appropriately, but "did work overtime in violation of our policy."

In their public declarations, both Apple and Foxconn seem to suggest the interns broke company policy by voluntarily working beyond the 40-hour limit. However, at least one student who spoke with the Financial Times claims it was the plant's decision.

"We are being forced by our school to work here. The work has nothing to do with our studies," said one unnamed student who is attending the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School to become a train attendant. The intern went on to claim that she assembles up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras per day.

In its response to the BBC today, Foxconn said it took "immediate action to ensure that no interns are carrying out any overtime work," adding that "interns represent a very small percentage" of its workforce in China.

As the world's most valuable tech company, and an outspoken proponent of workplace responsibility, Apple is under constant scrutiny from human rights groups. Despite attempts to improve workplace conditions, Apple and its suppliers have in the past come under fire for failing to follow Chinese labor guidelines. Indiscretions have included reports of underage workers, excessive work hours and dire living conditions.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,866member
    Is anyone surprised?    

    Even if Apple has the best intentions what your suppliers do behind your back is impossible to control.   Frankly id be more worried about indications that the students where forced into working there.  

    By the way i have nothing against internships for high school students.    In someways we have gone overboard with child labor laws in the west.    It wouldnt hurt to expose students to real jobs before they commit to fixed programs.    In this case though it looks like some back office crap took place to get some quick and cheap labor.    There is a stink here this article seems to ignore.  
    muthuk_vanalingamSpamSandwich[Deleted User]philboogiecalimacxpresselectrosoftjony0
  • Reply 2 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,133moderator
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    muthuk_vanalingammike54watto_cobraphilboogiecalibb-15pscooter63badmonkjony0
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,765member
    While I agree that Apple and Foxconn have a responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen, I also think there is something fishy going on at the Urban Transit School. 

    The school forces them into internships that are nothing to do with transit operations. 
    The school pressures them into working illegal hours. 

    Somebody is exploiting these students. Either they are being forced to hand over a portion of their earnings to someone at the school, or a deal has been struck between a Foxconn manager and the school. 


    radarthekatnetmage
  • Reply 4 of 20
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    I’ve seen child labor in at least one Chinese factory tour. A bit hard to stomach coming from a Western point of view, but considering the alternatives for most of them, the factory work is a far better option. And a reminder for folks, the same situation existed in America during the Industrial Age. At some point in the future, the Chinese people may forget about what was commonplace and acceptable during their society’s rise to “modernity”.
    edited November 2017 radarthekatcalianantksundaramequality72521
  • Reply 5 of 20
    '   "We are being forced by our school to work here. The work has nothing to do with our studies," said one unnamed student who is attending the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School to become a train attendant. The intern went on to claim that she assembles up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras per day.  '

    hmm... I know alot of people see nothing wrong with this and justify it by all kinds of reasons and don't care about it anyway, and there are worser alternatives, different country, different opportunities, etc but still, it doesn't sit right with me.
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 6 of 20
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    I’ve seen child labor in at least one Chinese factory tour. A bit hard to stomach coming from a Western point of view, but considering the alternatives for most of them, the factory work is a far better option. And a reminder for folks, the same situation existed in America during the Industrial Age. At some point in the future, the Chinese people may forget about what was commonplace and acceptable during their society’s rise to “modernity”.
    So I wonder is exploitation is necessary pre-requisite towards "modernity" or can it be done in another way?
  • Reply 7 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,133moderator
    mike54 said:
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    I’ve seen child labor in at least one Chinese factory tour. A bit hard to stomach coming from a Western point of view, but considering the alternatives for most of them, the factory work is a far better option. And a reminder for folks, the same situation existed in America during the Industrial Age. At some point in the future, the Chinese people may forget about what was commonplace and acceptable during their society’s rise to “modernity”.
    So I wonder is exploitation is necessary pre-requisite towards "modernity" or can it be done in another way?
    It may just be that when an emerging country has a large unskilled and semi-skilled labor pool there’s a temptation by businesses in that country to expliot that resource to get in on the flows of money generated from global commerce, by offering up labor at rates cheaper than its neighbors/competitors. So while it may not be necessary to exploit this resource, there might be significant temptation to do so, especially when it’s one of only a few significant resources available to a country’s opportunists (business and entrapenuerial types).
    edited November 2017 pscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 20
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    Hopefully on WalmartInsider, people are holding them to account for any unethical practices too. It's no surprise that the largest companies are the first targets and once they shift, the rest of the world does too.
    caliradarthekatmacxpress
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Where are allllllll those 'Robot' Factories we were promised?? There should be machine-assembly lines making all these new-fangled gadgets so people don't have to, 'tarnation!!  B)
  • Reply 10 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Apple has ZERO responsibility for what happens at third-party companies. The problem is Apple cares so we get to sh*t on them.

    Years back I read an article about Foxconn and it’s customers and only 2 companies visited Foxconn to check out labor practices. Nintendo once and Apple annually. 
    radarthekatpichaelStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 11 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,160member
    While no violations of child labor laws are trivial, the very small scale situation with Foxconn, who just happens to be building products for Apple in this instance, are absolutely miniscule by several orders of magnitude compared to the child labor situation in Africa. So how much media scrutiny are the massive abuses of child labor in Africa getting in western media compared these half dozen high school kids in China? If the media is constantly going to hold Apple to such high standards for things the it has only ancillary control over, perhaps Apple should cut ties with these massive contract manufacturing conglomerates jump all-in and take control of its manufacturing operations completely and locate its plants in places where its manufacturing jobs have the greatest impact on improving the basic living conditions of its workers, like Africa and Appalachia. I’m sure the capitalists would scream out in agony and the market would react punishingly at the mere thought of Apple taking on such burdensome responsibilities for their own operations. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 20
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    wizard69 said:
    Is anyone surprised?    

    Even if Apple has the best intentions what your suppliers do behind your back is impossible to control.   Frankly id be more worried about indications that the students where forced into working there.  

    By the way i have nothing against internships for high school students.    In someways we have gone overboard with child labor laws in the west.    It wouldnt hurt to expose students to real jobs before they commit to fixed programs.    In this case though it looks like some back office crap took place to get some quick and cheap labor.    There is a stink here this article seems to ignore.  
    We in the US are total hypocrites on this subject as our federal laws provide NO restrictions for hours worked on non-school days (which would include internships) for anyone 16 or older. (In fact there are no overtime restrictions for any adult worker.) Here are the facts from the US Department if Labor regarding high school age workers on non-school days:
    • Youth 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not, for unlimited hours. 
    • Youth 16 or 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job for unlimited hours. (Hazardous defined by such things as driving or operating heavy equipment.)
    When these investigations in China in the past called out “excessive” overtime for all workers of all ages, and corrective action was put in place, many if not most workers wanted to know why they were being punished by cutting back their hours. These types of manufacturing jobs are typically held by young adults who only plan to hold them for a year or two, and are usually making more money than anyone else in their family has ever made. Not only are they saving for their future, but also sending money home to support their families.

    The labor situation in China is such that factory workers are being paid more than recent college graduates, if these graduates can even find jobs in their respective fields. Since China in the last 10+ years has dramatically expanded its universities, many young adults no longer want to work in factories which has helped drive up factory wages dramatically. Meanwhile college graduates struggle to find work, and their wages have been held extremely low due to oversupply.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,179member
    The vast improvements to every aspect of Apple maps since it launched has been stunning.
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    Let's be real, 95% of people couldn't give less of a shit about this stuff, but they jump on it solely as an excuse to bash Apple. Which is why you will never, EVER hear commenting on any other company besides Apple and Foxconn, even though the conditions at a Foxconn plant producing Apple products is most likely significantly better and more regulated than ANY other factory in China. It's a disgusting, disingenuous, agenda-driven type of outrage and criticism.
    equality72521radarthekatmacxpress
  • Reply 14 of 20
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 269member
    One reason I buy Apple products is because the worker's conditions which produce Apple products are, over many years, the most scrutinized for any major player in the tech industry.
    - I'm well aware of poor worker conditions in the US (such as in agriculture).

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/11/17/child-farmworkers-united-states-worst-form-child-labor

    I keep also track of job exploitation in some other countries.
    So, I choose to do business with the major tech company which has the most oversight in this area.  

    * The reality is that most customers in developed countries of sophisticated tech don't care about the conditions for workers who produced that tech, such as that $200 Android phone. 
    For instance this story about Samsung didn't get much buzz.

    https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/south-korea-samsung-workers-fight-justice-after-suicide

    - But there is a huge longterm media/audience interest in finding fault with Apple and even predicting its doom. And the benefit for me with the Apple flaw hunt is that because I do care about worker conditions, I buy Apple products.  




     
    radarthekat
  • Reply 15 of 20
    cali said:
    Apple has ZERO responsibility for what happens at third-party companies. The problem is Apple cares so we get to sh*t on them.

    Years back I read an article about Foxconn and it’s customers and only 2 companies visited Foxconn to check out labor practices. Nintendo once and Apple annually. 
    Not true the company I worked for was auditing Foxconn long before Apple showed up.

    The issue is the Chinese have always been very good at hiding this stuff. For a long time the workers would never say anything for lots of reasons. Also it could be very hard to prove age, birth certificates can be forge. In the summer Olympics in China, there was a gymnasts from China's which everyone believe was 14 not 16 but no one could prove it. No one had never heard of her she never competed international like all the other gymnasts she just show up at the Olympics 

    I shared this before, in China, the government does not enforce its own laws it makes companies like Apple enforce the laws.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 20
    mike54 said:
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    I’ve seen child labor in at least one Chinese factory tour. A bit hard to stomach coming from a Western point of view, but considering the alternatives for most of them, the factory work is a far better option. And a reminder for folks, the same situation existed in America during the Industrial Age. At some point in the future, the Chinese people may forget about what was commonplace and acceptable during their society’s rise to “modernity”.
    So I wonder is exploitation is necessary pre-requisite towards "modernity" or can it be done in another way?
    It’s the difference between working in a factory or living on the streets.
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 17 of 20
    wizard69 said:
    Is anyone surprised?    

    Even if Apple has the best intentions what your suppliers do behind your back is impossible to control.   


    especially when they are in another country. and its worth pointing out that Foxconn has only agreed to stop the practice for Apple's lines. Microsoft etc are also clients and zip about that. 
  • Reply 18 of 20
    I understand the critique of Apple and Foxconn, but at the same time one can only imagine the workplace violations going on in some out of view toaster oven factory supplying brands that sell for razor-thin markups in Walmart and other US and international retailers.  Where’s the indignity and shame in those cases?  It’s disingenuous to judge and castigate Apple and Foxconn while turning a blind eye to what most assuredly goes on in a large number of third-world workplaces.  You should see the conditions I witness here in the Philippines, which here is just a matter of normal existence.  
    Hopefully on WalmartInsider, people are holding them to account for any unethical practices too. It's no surprise that the largest companies are the first targets and once they shift, the rest of the world does too.
    Let me guess… you shop at Target and think their business practices are better then Walmart. 🙄
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Yeah, I don't buy for a minute that Tim Cook didn't know this was going on. Tim's claim to fame was supply chain and manufacturing. iPhone X ship times miraculously go from 5-6 weeks to 1 week and no one at Apple questions how that happened?!? Really?!?

    Tim will come out in support of some other civil rights issue in the USA. That's to make you think Apple "cares" about people and to feel good about being an Apple customer. Just don't peek the behind the wonderful wizard's curtain.




  • Reply 20 of 20
    smaffei said:
    Yeah, I don't buy for a minute that Tim Cook didn't know this was going on. Tim's claim to fame was supply chain and manufacturing. iPhone X ship times miraculously go from 5-6 weeks to 1 week and no one at Apple questions how that happened?!? Really?!?

    Tim will come out in support of some other civil rights issue in the USA. That's to make you think Apple "cares" about people and to feel good about being an Apple customer. Just don't peek the behind the wonderful wizard's curtain.




    If you haven’t spent time in China going to the little factories that are scattered all over the landscape, you’ll never “get” why compliance is difficult to monitor, even with a person on-site in the bigger factories. Use of so-called “illegal” labor usually (but not always) happens on the periphery where there are no compliance monitors. People look the other way because starvation may be the alternative to the abolishment of child labor. A sad realization, but a real one.
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