Foxconn Interns Worked Illegal 11-Hour Shifts To Meet iPhone X Demand

Apple and Foxconn have a well-documented history of labor abuses ranging from underpaying employees to compulsory over time that have been blamed for a slew of deaths and suicides among Foxconn's workforce. These abuses were widely covered in the media around 2012 but largely disappeared from the headlines after Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would pressure Foxconn into adopting more humane labor conditions.

But apparently the unprecedented production problems that plagued the company's rollout of the iPhone X put Foxconn in an uncomfortable situation where they couldn't find enough seasonal workers to ramp up production fast enough. To compensate for the shortfall, the company recruited "interns" - who were also studying as full-time students - to work grueling 12-hour shifts at a factory in mainland China. The story was uncovered by the Financial Times, which sent a reporter to China to talk with Foxconn interns, who worked the long hours. This violated not only Apple and Foxconn's policies, but local laws governing labor abuses.

The students, who are doing the internships for school credit, say they have little choice but to follow their supervisers' orders.

Six high school students told the Financial Times they routinely work 11-hour days assembling the iPhone X at a factory in Zhengzhou, China, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.
The six said they were among a group of 3,000 students from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School sent in September to work at the local facility run by Taiwan-based Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn.


The students, aged 17 to 19, said they were told that a three-month stint at the factory was required “work experience” that they had to complete in order to graduate.


“We are being forced by our school to work here,” said Ms Yang, an 18-year-old student training to be a train attendant who declined to use her first name for fear of punishment. “The work has nothing to do with our studies.” She said she assembled up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras a day.


The school declined to comment.


Apple said an audit has turned up “instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China”, adding “we’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime”.  


Foxconn said that “all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy” prohibiting student interns working more than 40 hours a week.

When confronted by the FT, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged that they were aware of student “interns” working overtime and said they were taking steps to end the practice. Both companies insisted that the students were working voluntarily, and that Apple had a strict policy prohibiting interns from working more than 40 hours a week. However, given the iPhone X’s unprecedented production problems linked to its facial-recognition features, Apple management was willing to tolerate a few “violations” of the company’s policy.

The launch of the anniversary iPhone X was marred by production issues and was delayed to November from Apple’s typical September release date. The weeks of idle capacity caused Foxconn’s quarterly profit to drop 39 per cent.


According to a long-time Foxconn employee, the Zhengzhou factory hires students every year during the busy season between August and December. Such hiring can swell numbers at the plant from a base of 100,000 to more than 300,000 workers producing up to 20,000 iPhones a day, the employee said.


But this year, the need for seasonal workers was greater, the employee added.


“The purchasing practices of Apple and others are designed to cut costs, and do things ‘just in time’,” said Jenny Chan, assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “This leads to the use of student labourers who can be flexibly hired."

In accordance with its “preferential policies” meant to keep Foxxconn happy and thriving, the local government in Henan, where the Foxxconn factory is based, helped the company recruit interns from vocational schools.

According to the FT, the regional government issued notices to schools in the central Chinese province to send their “work experience students” to Foxconn.  Students also came from the nearby cities of Kaifeng, Nanyang, and Xinxiang, according to a Foxconn employee working on the iPhone X. Students also came from the nearby cities of Kaifeng, Nanyang, and Xinxiang.

Of course, Apple greatly benefited from Foxconn's abuses: Wall Street analysts are now predicting that Apple may have sold as many as 8 million iPhone X units since they went on sale late last month. And so far, it appears that neither Apple nor Foxconn will be held accountable for violating labor laws.

So, what's stopping it from doing this again next year?


nmewn The Management Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:32 Permalink

               Stop-Every-Fucking-Thing!Did everyone know that former NRA firearms instructor Stephen Willeford used one of those ugly, black, "assault rifles" (an AR15) to shoot and wound (twice) that pyschopath who shot all those people in a Sutherland Texas church?Has the Alinsky media told you that? You may resume your regularly scheduled programming 

In reply to by The Management

Laowei Gweilo nmewn Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:52 Permalink

oh a WHOLE ELEVEN HOURS oh my goodnessI used to work 12 hours a day when I was 16 on my first forest fire lol the crew boss had to FORCE us to take a break after 10 or 14 days or something cuz of 'employment law' lol we were happy as fuck to be making cash for the first time in our lives hhahaplus it puts some balls on your balls o.0that said, hiking around mountain sides looking for spot fires is a lot more fun for a teenager full of piss and vinegar than sitting on a factory line -_- still, we all got turns on pump duty too lol kinda factory line esque

In reply to by nmewn

Code Duello Laowei Gweilo Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:56 Permalink

These complainers:  granted they are in a dictatorship but is the actual description that they are conscripted slaves?  If they are bitching about how many hours they worked, then I must assume their terms of employment are something other than ankle/wrist shackles and the choice to work or not to work for Foxconn.  Furthermore, the ZH headline describes the dissenters as "interns".  Since when do interns anywhere set their working terms?

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

Laowei Gweilo Code Duello Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:16 Permalink

it's just a technical school practicum, basically.the hours and situation are fine. plenty of more technical school programs require practicums with high overtime. nursing, for example. the only problem here is their age.which is dumb... because if these 17-18 year olds don't like working for trade school practicum 11 hours a day.they could always go back to regular Chinese grade 12 'gaokao' where they'll basically live at their high school studying 14 hours a day instead hahaaverage Chinese grade 12 student would probably looooooove to ONLY have to sit on a monontous factory line for 11 hours a day and have a guaranteed state-owned enterprise job afterwards hehehehe -- sounds like a cake walk to many student gaokao experience.that said, the former is technically prohibited and Chinese court probably would agree internships fall under the same regulation. i doubt government cares tooo much but they do want to improve their child labour laws and all that for UN, ForPol, etc reasons ;p

In reply to by Code Duello

Escrava Isaura auricle Wed, 11/22/2017 - 04:35 Permalink

Foxconn Interns Worked Illegal 11-Hour Shifts To Meet iPhone X Demand Well, in America there’s a name for working overtime illegally. It’s call hire the workers as contractors. See, slavery sounds wonderful. Just by manipulating ‘changing the meaning’ of a word.  
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scintillator9 spag Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:02 Permalink

Praise and approbation to God Mammon that this never, ever happens in the Good Ol U. S. OF A.

A former Wal-Mart employee has filed a class-action suit against the retail giant for forcing employees to work without pay — sometimes by locking them into the stores — after their shifts had ended. Gamble claims that while she worked at Wal-Mart's store in Centereach, N.Y., she and other hourly workers were routinely locked in the store at night where they would have to restock merchandise and count out the cash registers, even though the workers had already gone off the clock. Gamble says the tasks often took two extra hours.

 And, for those who really don't give a fuck, for the love of Mammon, do not click the link below.… Here is some good background music to listen to while reading the links for those so inclined: 

In reply to by spag

Bubba Rum Das lil dirtball Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:45 Permalink

Notice, my friends that in the text of the article, the student workers are referred to as 'Volunteers'; although they say that in order to graduate, they must complete 3 months as 'Volunteers'...Do volunteers get paid? Of course not, room & board is what they get for 'volunteering'...-So then since they do not get paid, & are forced to 'volunteer' in order to graduate, THIS IS WHY THE ARTICLE IS REFERRING TO THIS AS: -SLAVE LABOR...CAPICE?

In reply to by lil dirtball

Anteater Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:18 Permalink

What demand? They cut back parts deliveries 50% and cutproduction labor 60% to squeeze out at least a zero profitmargin by paying no OT. Same thing in fast foods. Whenwas the last time you bought a Jack in the Box?

Endgame Napoleon earleflorida Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

Temporary / churn workers at low rates of pay are already in the mainstream of American business practices, as is a preference for workers who are dependents of some sort, like dependents of the state, producing children that ensure them free rent and food from taxpayers, in addition to a $6,318 child tax credit. These workers can afford to work temp gigs for a little extra money; their unearned income pays their regular bills. This takes the business plan a step further, skipping any pay structure at all.

In reply to by earleflorida

nmewn Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:19 Permalink

Gosh, sex predators, slave labor in communist countries and Silicon Valley dim campaign contributors.Will my schadenboner ever go down?!!! ;-)

Endgame Napoleon any_mouse Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:55 Permalink

Fukuyama should have identified the end of human [labor] history as the transition point, when they unleash these staple business practices on the robots.

To robots, a seasonal work shift is indistinguishable from a work shift in a permanent position. The robot does not have nonseasonal bills to pay; s/he/it just works without sensing the temporal.

In reply to by any_mouse

tion Tue, 11/21/2017 - 21:22 Permalink

They reckon age differently.  If the article didn't base age on birthdate Western style, 17-19 could be our equivalent to 15-18 years old.

Endgame Napoleon tion Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:12 Permalink

Try getting people worked up enough to boost MSM ratings about some non-titillating labor issue, involving underaged girls.

That said, you could make an argument that, if companies were willing to bring production back to the USA, internships in high-tech factories would be educational, assuming there was an intent to train young people for permanent, post-graduation positions at a wage level sufficient to cover living expenses. Germany does things like that in high schools, offering a non-college-prep route with on-the-job work training.

But those are probably in German-owned companies. When you think about it, this is an Apple supplier owned by a foreign country, not Apple itself. Apple likely has only so much control. The article said they did compensate the students. But who knows? Different countries have different standards on issues like kids and work.

This is a good example of how having zero economic nationalism dilutes accountability or any sense of responsibility to workers in your own country, even the ones under 18. This is the throw-away attitude toward employees. fostered by globalist business practices across many industries, not just smartphone production. The financial services industry is full of it.

In reply to by tion

tion Endgame Napoleon Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

We were raised being told that we were supposed to do well in school and get a good job working for someone else.  Any idea that any person is entiled to be employed by another person is a lie.Any idea that if you choose to be employed by another person, they are supposed to put your interests above theirs, is a lie.You are not entitled to a job.  You are not entitled to a stable position.  You are not entitled to have someone else pay you what you think you are worth.On the flip side, you are entitled to not be forced into taking any job that doesn't meet your standards of pay, permanence, the way you are treated.And if you don't like what's available to you on the job market, you are welcome to work for yourself.These days it seems like everyone from minimum wage workers to highly paid contractors want to get paid, don't want to deliver, but want to expect to keep getting paid.  How in the fuck is that supposed to work out?  Maybe they have certain perceptions of the value they are creating for their employer, and feel entitled to a bigger piece of the pie, but they are utterly clueless as to the numerous risks and costs that they will never see, that they will never have to worry about.  If you accept a job, do it, and do it well.   I understand you may view your own circumstances to be very different, but if you are such a good sales person, why are you selling yourself so short?I hope you don't take that as a dig, cause it's not.  Go out there and get what you're worth.  No one is going to just hand it to you.  

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

Dr_Snooz tion Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:16 Permalink

The crap is flowing both ways. The bosses are always looking for ways to cheat you, blame you for the mess they created, degrade product quality while leaving you to get yelled at by the customer for it, etc.We are like the USSR before it collapsed: "they pretend to pay us; we pretend to work." We get along great.

In reply to by tion