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foxconn forced schoolchildren to work overtime/overnight illegally

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  • foxconn forced schoolchildren to work overtime/overnight illegally



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    Hundreds of schoolchildren have been drafted in to make Amazon’s Alexa devices in China as part of a controversial and often illegal attempt to meet production targets, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.






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    Some of the pupils making Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo and Echo Dot devices along with Kindles have been required to work for more than two months to supplement staffing levels at the factory during peak production periods, researchers found. More than 1,000 pupils are employed, aged from 16 to 18.




    Chinese factories are allowed to employ students aged 16 and older, but these schoolchildren are not allowed to work nights or overtime.






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    Foxconn, which also makes iPhones for Apple, admitted that students had been employed illegally and said it was taking immediate action to fix the situation.




    The company said in a statement: “We have doubled the oversight and monitoring of the internship program with each relevant partner school to ensure that, under no circumstances, will interns [be] allowed to work overtime or nights.




    “There have been instances in the past where lax oversight on the part of the local management team has allowed this to happen and, while the impacted interns were paid the additional wages associated with these shifts, this is not acceptable and we have taken immediate steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”






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    The company defended its use of schoolchildren, however, claiming that “it provides students, who are all of a legal working age, with the opportunity to gain practical work experience and on-the-job training in a number of areas that will support their efforts to find employment following their graduation.”






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    Xiao Fang*, 17, started work at the factory on the Amazon Echo production line last month.




    Fang, who is studying computing, was given the task of applying a protective film to about 3,000 Echo Dots each day. Speaking to a researcher, she said she was initially told by her teacher that she would be working eight hours a day, five days a week, but that had since changed to 10 hours a day (including two hours’ overtime) for six days a week.




    “The lights in the workshop are very bright, so it gets really hot,” she said.




    “In the beginning, I wasn’t very used to working at the factory, and now, after working for a month, I have reluctantly adapted to the work. But working 10 hours a day, every day, is very tiring. 




    “I tried telling the manager of my line that I didn’t want to work overtime. But the manager notified my teacher and the teacher said if I didn’t work overtime, I could not intern at Foxconn and that would affect my graduation and scholarship applications at the school.




    “I had no choice, I could only endure this.”






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    According to the documents, Foxconn managers need students, who mostly stay in the factory’s dormitories, to work overtime to meet production targets; those who refuse are let go by the factory, researchers found.




    A document states: “Student interns who don’t work overtime will not only affect the production goal but also affect their willingness to work. Student interns need to work overtime.”




    The documents were leaked to labour rights group China Labor Watch and shared with the Guardian.






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    Company documents show that Foxconn pays interns a total of 16.54 yuan an hour (£1.93) inclusive of overtime and other add-ons, with a basic salary of £1.18 an hour. Experienced agency workers, known as dispatch workers, cost the company 20.18 yuan an hour. The documents also show that Foxconn has cut the rate paid to interns since last year.






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    The factory pays schools 500 yuan a month for each pupil they provide. One company document shows agreements with four schools to provide a total of 900 pupils to work in the factory, though other documents outline plans to recruit up to 1,800 interns this year.






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    Notes from a meeting to review the intern-hiring policy on 25 July this year reveal that without students the factory may not be able to hit production targets. The meeting was told that students are cheaper to hire than agency workers, which the factory also uses to cover peak production periods as an alternative to hiring regular staff.




    The meeting was told that some children were refusing to work nightshifts and overtime, and there was a need for teachers to intervene.




    “Nightshift line leaders should check in with student interns and teachers more often, and report back any abnormal situation so that teachers can persuade students to work nightshifts and overtime.”




    If children continued to refuse to work the additional hours, the meeting was told that teachers should file a resignation letter on their behalf.






    source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...-alexa-devices




     




    I hope that this is over break or something because I don't see how a student can work 8-10 hours a day and go to school. Here in american it is illegal for students to work during school hours but idk if china has a similar law. Also a lot of the students are being forced to work at the factory as their school has mandatory work experience and the only available provider of "internships" is the foxconn factory. The factory paying schools 500 yuan per month for every student they provide is just bribery and should be illegal as well. And china has such a big population why does foxconn have to use school children to met production targets? I think they are just exploiting children for cheaper labor and they can easily staff their positions with adults. I also have doubts that the children are really learning any valuable skills working at the factory. 




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