September 11, 2012

Students “Forced” To Work In iPhone 5 Factory Returning To School

Students from the eastern Chinese city of Huai’an that have been “forced” recently to work at a factory that makes iPhone 5s have started to return to school, the government-published Shanghai Daily reported today.

A main Apple supplier, Foxconn Technology, hired students to work in the factory as “interns” to meet a shortage of workers, the newspaper said.  The same newspaper yesterday said authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but didn’t sign agreements with the students. (See earlier post here.) The plant is facing a shortage of workers  ahead of the upcoming launch of Apple’s latest  iPhone model, the paper said.

“Local teachers and education officials said the internships were a compulsory course for students to experience working conditions and promote individual ability,” the Shanghai Daily reported.  Students were paid about $244 per month. The company also promised a 400 yuan, or $62, “introduction” payment per worker, citing a local report.

Shanghai Daily didn’t say if the schools,  city, Huai’an city officials or school officials received any cash from Foxconn for recruiting the students to work in the iPhone 5 plant.  During a one- to two-month “internship,” students would work on a production line for six days a week.

Foxconn has a controversial labor history, including a spate of worker suicides in China.