Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The Apple/Foxconn story just keeps getting more odious ahead of next week's expected announcement of the iPad Mini in San Jose, and there's a whole new raft of questions the tech giant will have to face now that Foxconn has actually managed to break Chinese labor laws with underage workers.

Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has acknowledged hiring teenagers as young as 14 in a Chinese factory, in breach of national law, in a case that raises further questions over its student intern program.

Labor rights activists in China have accused Foxconn and other big employers in China of using student interns as a cheap source of labor for production lines where it is more difficult to attract young adult workers to lower paid jobs.

Foxconn, the trading name of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, said it had found some interns at a plant in Yantai, in northeastern Shandong province, were under the legal working age of 16. It did not say how many were underage.

"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," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

"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."

Sure it is.  And Foxconn gets busted again for awful labor practices.  One has to wonder how long Apple can keep the shine on its stock while opposition to Foxconn mounts.  At some point Apple's going to have to answer, and I don't think the company's going to be able to pretend they don't have a sweatshop issue for much longer.

We'll see.

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