iPhone manufacturer faces labour complaints
BEIJING (AP) - The company that manufactures Apple's iPhones has responded to an accusation that vocational students are forced to work in its Chinese factories by saying Wednesday its agreement with their schools allows them to leave.
China Labor Watch, a Hong Kong group, said this week that Foxconn, which employs some 1.2 million people in China, employed students aged 16 to 18 in its factories. It cited employees as saying some wanted to leave but were compelled by their schools to stay.
Foxconn, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, said it takes interns from vocational schools who work for one to six months in its facilities. It said students are picked by their schools, are at least the minimum Chinese legal working age, receive the same wages as entry-level employees and are accompanied by teachers who monitor them throughout the program.
Foxconn's agreement with schools says "students are free to leave the internship programme at any time," the company said in a written response to questions. Foxconn, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, has faced complaints in the past about wages and working hours. It raised minimum pay and promised in March to limit hours after an auditor hired by Apple found Foxconn employees regularly were required to work more than 60 hours a week.