Foxconn, the Taiwanese company which assembles almost all of Apple’s most popular devices, recently admitted that it has forced student interns to work illegal shift patterns. Thousands of students from the Xi’an Institute of Technology were made to work overtime and night shifts at the plant in violation of company policies. If they refused to do so, they were in danger of losing their degree certificate. Foxconn said the following in a statement to CNBC after the allegations were printed in the Chinese newspaper, Dongfang Daily:
(We) have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced. Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies. These actions include reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.
It should be noted that this isn’t the first time that Foxconn has been in the limelight of worker mistreatment allegations. Late last year, the company admitted to using interns as young as 14 years old and it has been under scrutiny for several years for the harsh working conditions in its Chinese factories, where more than 20 workers have taken their own lives in the past six years.
In its response, Apple has stepped in and vowed to help Foxconn improve the situation.