Foxconn admits using underage labor

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Foxconn's admittted hiring interns as young as 14, after repeatedly denying it was doing anything of the sort.

Just hours after China Labor Watch (CLW) issued a statement insisting that there were underage workers at the comnpany's Yantai facility, Foxconn managed to discover them itself.

The plant is not believed to be involved in manufacturing for Apple, but is working on the Nintendo Wii U video game console.

As many as three percent of Foxconn's 1.2 million Chinese staff afre believed to be interns. This particular batch was sent to the factory by their schools, but Foxconn failed to check their ID.

Foxconn says they worked there for about three weeks, and that it hasn't uncovered any underage workers at any of its other plants.

"This is not only a violation of China's labour law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions," it says.

The admission follows long-standing allegations that Foxconn has been hiring underage workers as permanent staff, as well as interns.

"The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible (sic) but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers," says CLW. "China Labor Watch calls on the Chinese government to improve the current intern system of Chinese schools."

According to Voice of China, the students worked the same hours as the rest of the staff, including night shifts and overtime, and were threatened with expulsion from school if they asked to leave.