Foxconn confirms underaged interns working at Chinese factory

Contract manufacturer finds underaged interns working at its factory in Yantai, China, and sends the students back to school.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn confirms underaged interns were discovered working at its factory in Yantai, China, and says it has sent them back to school.

Foxconn told Bloomberg in a report Tuesday it had conducted internal investigation and determined the interns, aged 14 to 16, had been working at the facility for about three weeks.

In an e-mail to the newswire, the manufacturing company said: "Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated. We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action."

The company manufactures Apple's iPhones and iPads. 

Foxconn's comments confirmed a report Monday from labor rights group, China Labor Watch, as well as various reports by the Chinese media stating the Yantai factory had employed underaged workers.

The China Labor Watch report said "a small number" of student interns were hired during summer and the contract manufacturer has begun to send the students back to school. As the students were sent to Foxconn by their schools, the labor rights group said the school should take primary responsibility but added that Foxconn was also "culpable" for not checking the age of the recruits.

The Chinese media, however, believed Foxconn played a role in pushing the local government to ask schools to send students to work at the factory, due to a shortage of workers and the need to meet increasing orders.

Foxconn had been plagued with employee-related scandals in the past weeks. Workers organized a peaceful strike last week which caused a production line to stall. In late-September, a riot broke out at Foxconn's Taiyuan factory resulting in 40 workers sent to hospital for medical attention. 

In another report it released in August, China Labor Watch also accused Samsung of hiring underaged workers in its Chinese factories. 

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