According to the Next Web, Chinese universities near Foxconn are forcing Chinese students to “intern” at Foxconn for two months at a time. This is reportedly taking place because of supply shortages, which are occurring with the upcoming release of the new iPhone. Students were informed that they will be paid a mere $244 per month for their work. Workdays at Foxconn aren’t fun either; workers usually have 12 hour work days and have to pay for food and accommodation out of pocket.
First Financial Daily has reported that students are required to sign a contract upon arrival at Foxconn. The contract supposedly asks students if they accept overtime and if the work is voluntary. Students who mark “no” on the contract are reportedly told to change their answer to “yes”. First Financial Daily found this information in a post on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social networking site. The post is from a student in China who said that her parents were not contacted about the internship program and that some schools are already canceling the program after increased media exposure. First Financial Daily said the following about the post:
[quote]MengniuIQ84 wrote that the authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but said that the factory neither informed parents nor signed agreements with students.One or two schools had canceled their internship programs with Foxcon after media exposure and pressure from the public, she said, but her institute had no plans to do so and had even punished students who had tried to leave the factory.[/quote]
Foxconn also released a statement on the issue. If you’d like to read it, we’ve embedded it here:
Foxconn has long had a short-term internship program that we carry out in cooperation with a number of vocational schools in China. Participants in the internship program, all of whom are of legal working age in China, represent an average of 2.7 percent of our workforce in China. The internship programs range in length from one to six months and students are free to leave the internship program at any time.
While we provide vocational schools with our qualification requirements, it is the schools that recruit the students under the supervision of the relevant local government and the schools also assign teachers to accompany and monitor the students throughout their internship program. In addition to allowing the students to gain relevant industry experience while earning the same industry-competitive compensation as our full-time entry-level workers, this program gives Foxconn an opportunity to identify participants in the internship program who have the potential to be excellent full-time employees should they wish to join our company upon graduation from their vocational school.
A recent audit of three of our facilities in China carried out by the Fair Labor Association confirmed that there was no evidence to indicate that any of the interns were pressured to participate in or to continue to participate in any internship program. A previous audit by the Fair Labor Association confirmed that students find their participation in this program valuable and that the positions offered by Foxconn were at compensation levels equivalent to entry-level full-time workers.
More great press for Foxconn, right? /sarcasm