Apple Supplier Foxconn Employs 14-Year-Olds
A company which makes products for tech giants Apple and Sony has admitted hiring children as young as 14 to work on its assembly lines in China.
Foxconn, which builds gadgets including the iPhone and iPad, said it employed the underage workers as part of an internship programme at a factory in eastern Shandong province.
It issued a statement saying: "This is not only a violation of China's labour law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy.
"Immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.
"We have found no evidence of similar violations in any of our other campuses in China, but we will not hesitate to take immediate action in any campus if any violations are discovered."
Foxconn employs 1.2 million people in China, around 3% of whom are interns.
Geoffrey Crothall, a spokesman for China Labour Bulletin, described them as a "cheap and convenient source of labour" that some vocational schools are happy to provide, as it helps boost their revenues.
"The enterprises tend to be factories that need more hands on the production line," he said. "There is no real training or apprenticeship involved here."
The discovery of underage workers is a fresh blow for Foxconn, just weeks after a brawl involving nearly 2,000 employees at one of its plants brought production to a halt.
Earlier this year, the Fair Labour Association found some staff were forced to work more than 60 hours a week, and sometimes for more than 11 days in a row.
In 2010, 13 workers committed suicide amid claims that Foxconn ran a military-style prodution line on which employees were told to work overtime for low wages.
The company denied the claims, but promised to hire more counsellors and set up employee groups to watch for signs of emotional stress among staff.
Earlier this year, Apple chief executive Tim Cook visited Foxconn's Zhengzhou Technology Park, which employs an estimated 120,000 people in the northern province of Hebei.
The company's late founder Steve Jobs once claimed the company was "not a sweatshop".
what do you think?
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profits all about profits,,yet the people will still buy the phones,and apple will still make about 25 quid profit out of every phone.and the rich get richer,with money a normal person could not spend in 5 life times,,GREED
Windows Live User
All about profit for companies including British. Get yer gear made in some sweatshop then charge the Brits the earth to buy it. Good business model. Have some decency about you and bring yer manufacturing home.
If child labour in sweat shops right here in British cities were stamped out several high street fashion chains would follow in their wake. the Gov.know they exist but do nothing.
child labour would imply something legal - hiring 14 year olds is legal in China, it is legal in the UK, we do the same over here, and quite often it is a good thing to give these kids something to do.