Foxconn says it has corrected internship overtime issues

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Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's main supplier in Asia, released a statement on Tuesday in response to a Financial Times report that said the company had been illegally employing students, working them overtime to help assemble the iPhone X.

The company said it will not allow interns to work more than 40 hours per week on program-related assignments.

The report quoted six high school students who said they would usually work 11-hour shifts to help manufacture Apple's flagship phone at a factory in Zhengzhou, Henan province. Such hours would breach Chinese law governing the use of student interns.

"We offer a short-term internship program to local governments and a number of vocational schools in China. And interns represent a very small percentage of the workforce," the statement said.

Foxconn said it has taken steps to correct the situation and will continue to regularly review the internship program to ensure that it's in compliance with all relevant policies and regulations, and that the problem will not be repeated.

The internship program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to gain practical work experience through on-the-job training in a number of areas in the Foxconn operation. The program supports students' efforts to find employment after their graduation, according to the company.

"Student interns are also given priority should they wish to join the company as full-time employees upon graduation," the statement said.

It emphasized that its policies regarding all participants in the China internship program are clear, that all interns enter the program voluntarily and that they are informed of all their rights, including the right to leave the program at any time.

"Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where portions of our campuses have not adhered to this policy," Foxconn said.

Du Zhenyu, a staff member at Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School, said more than 2,000 graduates of the school have taken part in internships at Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant, in Henan province, a place once again buzzing with activity after Apple unveiled three new products-the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

"The students work at the plant for about two or three months," Du said.

The rail transit school said it would abide by the principle of voluntary participation, and that students would be allowed to terminate the practical study program without punishment. More than 100 students have left the program, it said.

"In addition, working overtime follows the voluntary principle. Students are paid by companies if they work overtime," it said.

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