NEW YORK • Apple Inc found that its main supplier in Asia has been employing high-school students working illegal overtime to assemble the iPhone X.
Interns at a factory operated by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, part of Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, worked voluntarily and received benefits, though worked longer days than Chinese law permits, Apple said in a statement. The Financial Times (FT) reported on Tuesday that a group of 3,000 students from the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School were sent to work at the local facility.
“During the course of a recent audit, we discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China,” Apple said. “When we found that some students were allowed to work overtime, we took prompt action.”
The students worked at the factory as part of a three-month stint that was billed as “work experience”, and was required to graduate, the FT reported. Six of the students told the FT they routinely worked 11-hour days assembling Apple’s flagship smartphone, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.
Apple’s supply chain has faced criticism over poor labour standards for years, and the company has pushed manufacturing partners to improve factory conditions or risk losing business. 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.
Apple’s latest model, the US$999 (RM4,106) iPhone X, faced hiccups in production that stymied some suppliers and held back business for Hon Hai, which gets more than half its sales from the Cupertino, California-based company. — Bloomberg