Electronics manufacturer Foxconn, embroiled in yet another work labour controversy, has admitted that it has an existing internship program with Xi'an Technological University of China that allows its students to work in the company's plant in the Chinese city of Yantai. However, it denied that work-study program is only voluntary and it does not allow students to render overtime and night work.
A local paper, Dongfang Daily of Shanghai, disclosed that the plant had thousands of engineering students working overtime and night work shifts. It said the students had to comply with the work conditions otherwise they would lose six college credits, or fail to be included in the graduation roster. The internship at the factory, the students said, was a graduation prerequisite.
A Foxconn factory in the Czech Republic (Wikimedia)
The paper said the students worked on basic tasks, including assembling and packaging parts for Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 consoles. They were reportedly required to work for two full months and received the same salary as with the factory workers which was 1,600 yuan ($261) per month.
"I feel like a robot, after work I just want to sleep," Wang Yi Ran, one of the students, told Dongfang Daily.
"All participating schools are required to follow specific policies established by Foxconn for this program including assurances that participation is voluntary, interns are free to terminate their internship at any time they choose, and interns are not allowed to take part in overtime work or work night shifts," an unidentified spokeswoman told Mail Online.
"Foxconn has no power and no ability to require any person to enforce the internship," Dongfang Daily quoted the company as saying to the Post.
In its internal investigation, the Taiwanese company said its "policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced" in a few instances by the Xi'an Technological University.
"Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies," Foxconn, China's largest private employer, with over 1 million workers, said in a statement.
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