Apple's iPhone X assembled by 3000 interns doing forced overtime in China

Ivan Schwartz
November 22, 2017

Apple is under fire after it was discovered that students illegally worked overtime to build the iPhone X at the Foxconn factory in China.

Six students, among a group of 3,000 interns from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School, told the Financial Times that they routinely work 11-hour days on the assembly line in a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China.

One student, 18-year-old Ms Yang, revealed to Financial Times that the school was forcing them to work.

One of the students said they were being forced to work there by their school, and the work has nothing to do with their education.

A spokesperson for Foxconn said students were not forced to work but did concede some campuses broke the rules on overtime.

In the wake of the shocking allegations, both Apple and Foxconn have respectively confirmed "instances of students working overtime", according to the report, which added that both companies are now taking action steps to remedy the situation.

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"This work has nothing to do with our studies".

While certainly damning, the report also highlights the need for Apple and its partners to implement additional measures to protect their workers. They said that the extra hours were taken on voluntarily.

Foxconn noted that its policies prohibit interns from working more than 40 hours per week, however the iPhone-builder acknowledged the policy violation and said it's working with Apple to ensure history doesn't repeat itself.

"Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve...we'll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain". News reports abounded prior to and shortly after the iPhone X's launch claiming that Apple was struggling to manufacture certain parts.

The school has refused to comment on the issue.

According to CNET, an Apple spokesperson conceded the students should not have been working late. Despite that framing, the Times report doesn't establish a clear or direct connection between these events. 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. In 2012, there were reports of factory worker riots and use of underage workers, and both Apple and Foxconn agreed to work to improve factory conditions and share the costs of doing so.

Other reports by GizPress

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