It was only a couple of years ago when electronics manufacturer Foxconn made headlines after a number of workers committed suicide. That led to a couple of jumpers from last year and now the plant has made news again by allegedly having over a 1,000 unpaid student interns working overtime and night shifts to manufacture PlayStation 4 units.
Foxconn is the largest private manufacturer in China; one which pumps out many products like motherboards, music players, cameras and more on a yearly basis; helping make up the world’s $150 billion consumer-electronics industry. It also manufactures Apple, Microsoft and Nintendo products.
Being such a vast name in the market, one would wonder as to why it’s so hard for the guys running the plant to keep things in check. The company’s policies speak against their acts but the plant continues to grind employees under its greasy thumb.
“Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies,” Foxconn said in a statement to business news outlet Quartz, including “reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.”
That statement is what we call ‘damage control’. While the Foxconn representative may have spewed that statement to simmer things down; other reports state that the students were at risk of losing course credits and thus being unable to graduate. The only thing they could have done was work and participate in the manufacturing.
Following the events, Sony provided their own statement:
“The Sony Group established the Sony Supplier Code of Conduct in June 2005 with the expectation of every supplier agreeing and adhering to the policies of the Sony Group in complying with all applicable laws, work ethics, labour conditions, and respect for human rights, environmental conservation and health and safety. We understand Foxconn fully comprehend and comply with this Sony Supplier Code of Conduct.”
Not like a company would take action and risk losing billions just for the sake of human rights.
Update: Polygon reports that the students were in fact being paid the same as a normal Foxconn worker — 1,600 yuan (about $261.62) per month.