Foxconn is nowhere near of steering clear from controversial practices on its manufacturing plants after an in-house investigation revealed employment of underage workers at one of its fields.
The Chinese firm said it performed the probe to confirm media reports concerning 14-year-old workers at one of its campuses.
While Foxconn’s investigating team did find workers aged between 14 and 16 and resented the discovery, it claimed they were part of its short-term student internship program.
“An internal investigation carried out by our company has confirmed media reports in China that some participants in the short-term student internship program that is administered at our campus in Yantai, Shandong Province are under the legal working age of 16 years,” said the company.
“This is not only a violation of China’s labor 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. We are also carrying out a full investigation, in cooperation with the respective educational institutions, to determine how this happened and the actions that must be taken by our company to ensure that it can never happen again.”
Foxconn added that employment of underage workers is limited to only one campus and is considered as an isolated problem, claiming the issue as unintentional and promised to report any further violations of business practices it can find.
“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. 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,” continued the statement.
“In addition to returning the students to their educational institution, Foxconn will work with the local government to ensure that the future participation of these schools in the internship program is only done after it has been determined that they are in compliance with China’s labor law and Foxconn policies.”
Foxconn has taken full responsibility for its violations and said it has apologized to intern students involved.
While it remains unclear how the minors passed as interns at the campus – given that the human resource department screens all personnel for proper age requirements, Foxconn said the internship program is a partnership with educational institutions.
Foxconn explained that schools themselves recruit students to participate in its internship program.
Image: Blade M, via Flickr (CC). This is not the Foxconn plant mentioned in this report.