Foxconn Admits To Using Underage Interns As Young As 14

Foxconn Admits To Using Underage Interns As Young As 14

Foxconn says it will fire the employees responsible for hiring underage workers.

Foxconn has admitted to finding underage interns as young as 14 working in one of its Chinese plants, where the minimum legal working age is 16. The company, which assembles Apple’s hugely popular iOS devices, has sent all underage workers back to their schools, and it’s now investigating how they were ended up at its plant.

Foxconn didn’t disclose how many underage workers it found at its factory in the eastern city of Yantai, but it did warn that any employee responsible for hiring underage workers will have their contract terminated.

“We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action,” Foxconn said in a statement on Tuesday. “Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated.”

China Labor Watch, a labor rights group, said that while the primary responsibility for these underage workers lies with their schools, “Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers.”

Foxconn is one of China’s biggest employers, with around 1.2 million workers across the country. However, its practices have been under scrutiny in recent times as its poor working conditions and worker mistreatment have become more and more public.

Apple has been working with the company to make improvements, and while their progress has not gone unnoticed, there’s still plenty of work to be done. Back in September, more than 2,000 Foxconn workers were involved in a brawl — reportedly over iPhone 5 production pressures — that resulted in 40 people injured and several reported dead.

Foxconn also assembled products for a number of other high-profile companies, including Microsoft, Nintendo, Dell, Toshiba, Nokia, and more. It’s unclear what the underage workers were building.

  • joewaylo

    Isn’t it all Foxconn’s responsibility to do the paperwork and require ID checks prior to employment? They have one odd employment system if they just accept people willing to work immediately without knowing if they are news crews, spies, or underage workers.

  • Th3_1d

    Really don’t think this is a big deal. I was going around begging stores to hire me when I was 14, if the kids want to work then why not.

  • Shilly Devane

    Ummm have you ever heard of a SUMMER JOB?!?!? Why is this even a story?

  • trex67

    Your story leaves the impression that these workers were somehow connected with Apple. However (via DaringFireball, via The Financial Times):

    “Foxconn… also said the Yantai facility ‘has no association with any work we carry out on behalf of Apple’.”

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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