If anyone thought that Foxconn had learnt that its employment policies were not going down well in the west, they were sadly mistaken. When the world reacted badly while Chinese workers were throwing themselves off the roof of Foxconn plants rather than make another Apple gadget, Apple launched an investigation.
Now it seems that Foxconn is in the news again for acting badly. In this case it was short of a few workers when the iPhone 5 was being made. So to fill the shortage it popped along to the local schools in the region and told them to cancel classes so the kids could work for them for little cash. Reports of this ended up in the Shanghai Daily. According to the paper, students were taken by bus to the plant, and started working on the production line last Thursday. It was confirmed by teachers at the local schools but was being pitched as an intern project. During the project the student workers would get $243.97 per month as compensation for working six days a week, and clocking in 12 hours per day.
It seems that the deal was hatched out between Foxconn and the local education authorities. Parents were not told and students were not given any signed agreements. Yu Fangqiang, executive director of Nanjing-based Tianxiagong, a non-government organisation focusing on policy advocacy regarding social issues, has offerend to help students take legal action against their schools. However the kids are too frightned that the schools might refuse let them graduate.
According to The Next Web, Foxconn said that during a recent audit of three of the company’s factories by Apple backed NGO found no evidence was found to indicate that any interns “were pressured to participate in or to continue to participate in any internship program.”
This is not exactly true. The FLA says it found no evidence of “forced” internships among the interns it randomly interviewed, but it only interviewed interns at one of the three factories it inspected. Also this latest incident apparently has happened long after the investigators had gone home.