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Foxconn Entangled in Another Scandal

On 21 November, Foxconn came once again under the spotlight following a media investigation into its forced use of seasonal student interns. The Financial Times uncovered that three thousand high school students from the local Urban Rail Transit School had been forced to work eleven-hour shifts at the company’s plant in Zhengzhou, Henan province, to produce the new iPhone X. While admitting the violation of the rules regarding overtime, the company insisted that student internships were voluntary, a fact that was contradicted by the Financial Times investigation. The next day, on 22 November, Foxconn announced it had taken immediate action to address the violations. However, by that time, as the busy season from August to December was coming to an end, the use of student interns had already become unnecessary. Such practices have been found across electronics manufacturers. In October, the Hong Kong-based labour rights group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), reported that vocational school students were forced to work also at Quanta Computer, which supplies global brands such as Apple, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony. Local governments have been complicit in allowing such practices to prevent businesses from relocating to other regions where labour is cheaper and more flexible. KL

(Sources: Financial Times; Sina News; The Guardian)

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