Foxconn confirms intern working conditions violated company policy

Shadows gathered around clock-based table

Contract tech manufacturer Foxconn has confirmed student interns worked overtime at one of its factories in China, despite this constituting a violation of its company policy.

Foxconn, which makes products for tech giants including Apple, Dell and HP, has admitted the failing in a statement after students complained to the Chinese media about the firm's working practices.

Chinese media reports claim students in the city of Xian were allegedly forced to join Foxconn's internship programme in order to graduate from university.

They were then reportedly put to work on packaging parts for Sony's soon-to-be-released PlayStation 4 console, although Foxconn has neither confirmed nor denied this claim.

In some cases, students were allegedly made to work 11 hours a day and take part in night shifts at its Yantai factory in the province of Shandong.

This is the same factory caught up in a row last year about the hiring of interns as young as 14, despite Foxconn rules stating individuals must be over 16 to work there.

In a statement, Foxconn admitted night shifts and overtime had been a feature of working life for members of its internship scheme.

"In the case of recent allegations regarding the internship programme at our Yantai campus, we have conducted an internal investigation and have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced," the statement read.

The firm then went on to say that immediate action had been taken to ensure the campus complies with its working practice policies.

The case is the latest in a long line of incidents that have resulted in Foxconn's working conditions and practices coming in for scrutiny.

In 2010, the company was rocked by a spate of staff suicides, prompting concerns about the pay and conditions of its factory workers.

This led to an increase in workers' wages in February 2012, with Apple being among the tech firms to put pressure on Foxconn to improve conditions.

Even so, the firm was forced to shut one of its factories last September after a mass staff brawl involving around 2,000 employees disrupted production.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.