updated 10:56 am EDT, Tue October 16, 2012
Underage workers removed fro production plant
Foxconn has reportedly admitted that several underage interns were revealed during an internal investigation at its Yantai facility. The company has yet to disclose how many underage workers were found in the plant, though some of the interns are said to be as young as 14 years old.
"We recognize 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," Foxconn said in a statement, as quoted by the AP.
The underage workers are said to be interns brought from nearby schools, in violation of China's laws surrounding minimum working age. The students were sent back to their schools, while Foxconn vowed to fire any employee found to be responsible for the violations.
As one of largest contract manufacturers in the world, with more than a million employees, Foxconn has been criticized for its labor practices. A report circulated early this year suggested the company may have hidden underage workers during inspections by the Fair Labor Association or Apple representatives.
Critics have called for Foxconn and other contract manufacturers to improve conditions at the manufacturing facilities and employee dormitories, stop hiring underage workers, provide more days off, boost wages and put an end to the internship programs. The FLA's formal audits suggest the company has continued to address many of the issues, though reports from workers provide conflicting information.