FutureFive NZ - Foxconn factory hired underage workers

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Foxconn factory hired underage workers

Foxconn has admitted hiring teenagers as young as 14 to work in their Chinese factory, raising fresh questions over labour rights in the country.

The Apple manufacturer made the admission after labour rights activists in China accused the company of using student interns as a cheap source for work.

Due to the difficulties in attracting young adult workers to lower paid jobs, Foxconn acknowledged the hirings but refused to comment on how many were underage.

"Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks," Foxconn says.

"This is not only a violation of China's labour law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.

"However, we recognise 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 latest revelations have been one in a long-line of controversies to come from the Foxconn factories, with productions of Apple’s iPhone 5 dented last week as thousands of Chinese factory workers went on strike over working a national holiday.

Involving around 4,000 workers, the protests reportedly left many iPhone 5 production lines “in a state of paralysis for the entire day” as pressure increased to meet customer demand.

During late September disgruntled workers struck again, as over 2,000 Chinese employees rioted, leaving 40 injured.

The mass brawl at the Foxconn plant caused the supplier to close business after police were called to break up fighting between factory employees.

In light of the recent allegations, Foxconn defended its intern program saying they made up 2.7% of its workforce in China.

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