According to an exclusive report by The Financial Times, Apple's leading contract manufacturer Foxconn has been illegally employing students to assemble the latest iPhone X in order to meet demand after extensive production delays. "But they should not have been allowed to work overtime".
The students were reportedly sent to Foxconn by the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School as part of a mandatory, three-month "work experience" program.
Teenage students have been working illegal overtime to assemble the iPhone X at Apple's main supplier in Asia, six of them tell the Financial Times. Foxconn has been hiring student workers for years, but Apple still hasn't done enough to limit the work hours, according to Li.
We've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.
"This work has nothing to do with our studies".
Apple's supply chain has faced criticism over poor labor standards for years, and the company has pushed manufacturing partners to improve factory conditions or risk losing business. Apple carries out regular audits of its suppliers to ensure compliance with both the law and the company's own rules and procedures.
"All work was voluntary and compensated appropriately", a factory spokesperson said. But in an effort to get back on track with the high order volume, Foxconn may have coerced a bunch of Chinese interns to work ungodly amounts of hours-and held their high school diplomas hostage until the job was complete. Foxconn reportedly said that its internship program was carried out in co-operation with local governments and a number of vocational schools in China.
The school has refused to comment on the issue. News reports abounded prior to and shortly after the iPhone X's launch claiming that Apple was struggling to manufacture certain parts.
In its 2013 report, China Labor Watch found conditions in factories run by Pegatron, another major Apple supplier, similar to those uncovered by the Financial Times.
Foxconn and Apple later took measures to try to make the factory more comfortable and to reduce the amount of overtime from employees, though there have been several reports of worker suicides since.
The illegal overtime problems are also nothing new.