Apple says China students illegally worked overtime at supplier for iPhone X

Agence France Presse

Posted at Nov 22 2017 07:28 PM

SHANGHAI - Apple said Wednesday its main Asian supplier employed Chinese high school students in illegal overtime work making the iPhone X, but added that it "took prompt action" to end the practice.

The Financial Times had reported that 3,000 high school students in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou had been working 11 hours a day for Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn.

"We’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime," Apple said in a statement.

"When we found that some students were allowed to work overtime, we took prompt action. A team of specialists is on site at the facility working with the management on systems to ensure the appropriate standards are adhered to."

The FT report quoted six students as saying their school told them they had to perform the labor to log "work experience" required for graduation.

The students are from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School, a specialized secondary school.

Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province -- a major source of factory labor in China -- has been a Foxconn manufacturing hub for years.

Apple is frequently forced to answer questions raised by its suppliers' treatment of workers in China. 

Previous media reports had detailed past instances of Henan officials directing students to Foxconn.

In 2010, Henan’s education department organized internships for 25,000 secondary vocational schools students at a Foxconn plant in the southern city of Shenzhen, the Beijing Times reported at the time, citing a government notice.

The aim was to provide students with experience to prepare them for when Zhengzhou production ramped up, it said.

Those students were paid 1,200 yuan ($181) per month, and extra for overtime.

They also were told they could not receive a diploma without the experience.

Foxconn could not be reached for comment.