Foxconn hired 14 year olds to work in Chinese factories
TAIWANESE electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn, which produces electronics for companies including Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, has admitted it hired teenagers as young as 14 to work in one of its Chinese factories.
The news is the latest scandal to hit Foxconn, which employs about one million people in China, following a riot at one of its plants last month. In recent years, Foxconn has been hit by a number of suspected suicides at its plants with workers mostly jumping off dormitory buildings.
Foxconn, the flagship company of Taiwanese tycoon Terry Gou’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, said it had found some interns at a plant in Yantai, in northeastern Shandong province, were under the legal working age of 16. It did not say how many were underage.
“Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks,” Foxconn said in a statement.
“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.”
Foxconn said it would work with the local government to bar the schools involved in the Yantai case from the intern program unless shown to be compliant with labour law and company policy.
Foxconn’s announcement came after the US-based rights group China Labour Watch reported on the use of child labour at the Yantai plant.
“These underage interns were mainly sent to Foxconn by schools, but Foxconn did not check the IDs of these young interns. The schools involved in this incident should take primary responsible, but Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers,” the group said in a statement.
Two years ago, Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of computer components, came in for criticism over working conditions after a string of 13 suicides by employees at plants in southern China.
Foxconn’s close links with Apple has been a headache for the California-based company and chief executive Tim Cook visited an iPhone factory in Zhengzhou in March to shore up the PR fallout.
Foxconn is Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, and also makes products for Dell, Sony and Hewlett-Packard. It said the Yantai plant does not make Apple products.