Foxconn Shuffles Underage Workers Around As Inspections Ensue

AppleInsider reports that Foxconn shuffled employees around when inspectors from the Fair Labor Association recently took a tour of some of their facilities. A non-governmental labor rights group said that Foxconn relocated under-age workers to different areas of the plant during the tour before the FLA inspections commenced. This information comes from Debby Sze Wan Chan, a project officer from Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM).

"All underage workers, between 16-17 years old, were not assigned any overtime work and some of them were even sent to other departments," workers from the Foxconn factories reportedly told Chan.

Apple's "supplier code of conduct" does allow for workers 16- to 18-years-old to work at its plants, but it requires that certain rules be followed and certain special protections be given. From their code of conduct:

Preventing underage labor is only part of our efforts. We also monitor the treatment of workers who are old enough to work legally but are younger than 18. We don’t allow these workers to perform some types of work, even in cases where local laws allow it. Our standards also require factories to adhere to student labor laws and to ensure that schools and universities follow the laws as well, which is particularly important as factories increasingly turn to these institutions for student interns.

SACOM does not allege that Foxconn is hiding underage workers; they are simply saying that they moved older and younger workers around to avoid scrutiny from the FLA. The FLA is still conducting its inspection of the factories.

Chan seems concerned about the way Foxconn does business based on past experiences while visiting various plants. She recounted a recent trip to Foxconn facilities where workers said they feel like machines.

"The workers always tell us they resemble machines. Their regular day at Foxconn is waking up, queuing up for baths and work, work and go back to the dormitory and sleep. They do not have a social life and they are doing the same monotonous task in the factory for thousands of times a day. If they are not efficient enough or they make some mistakes, they will be yelled at by their supervisor or punished."

Hopefully the FLA will do a thorough inspection and help improve the lives of those poor souls that work at Foxconn. In the long run Apple and consumers have to examine the ethics of  how products are made in regions like China to save money.

Source: VentureBeat

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    In general as long as the minor has permission from both parents and their school, they are permitted to work.

    Though the US has strange ideas about age in general, which is probably why peopel are so upset about 16 year olds working.  Over the last few decades we have moved heavily into a 'precious innocence of youth' mindset (probably from aging boomers) and have been treating minors as more and more child like (read: inhuman).

  2. 0
    DorthLous says:

    "I think 13 and up should be allowed to work if they want"

    "So i don't get why anyone would get mad about a 16 year old working at a factory as longs as there is laws that stop any worker from being abused."


    I didn't know you were the person in charge of dictating everyone's ethic, sociological pov and laws of every countries. Charmed to meet you!

  3. 0
    bluelightrevival says:

    I think 13 and up should be allowed to work if they want but not in places like that. In America there should be no reason why a 13 year old cant work in a video store or something. So i don't get why anyone would get mad about a 16 year old working at a factory as longs as there is laws that stop any worker from being abused.

  4. 0
    Overcast says:

    After all – they are just people. And in comparison to corporate profits, they are a minor concerns it seems…

    But then a 'corporation' is often leveraged to be a compassionless, heartless entity. Since it has no compassion everything can be spun for the 'quarterly profit statement'.

    See then it takes the humanity out of the equation for most spin, that they push to the media as plausible. Then the only concern is the "poor investors" and how the corporation needs to make sure that profits are up for the "interests of the investors", no matter what the cost. The mantra is that the means are not important as long as the quarterly 'ends' are achieved.

    In many cases, these corporations are becoming a huge spin machine to walk all over what they want, when any question arises the blame can be shirked off somehow, because it's never the 'corporation's fault' that people in their cheap production chain are abused, it's always some middle manager somewhere than gets shafted.

    In the end, these corporations are just a tool of the high end investors – they can walk all over people, treat them like sub-human garbage, or whatever they want – and this wonderful 'corporate insulator' is in place to point blame elsewhere.

    It's always, "we weren't aware"

    Or "We are diligently working to investigate these issues"

    Makes you wonder how much attention they are paying to production BEFORE the questions arise – shouldn't investors be concerned about the apparent issue that these corporations have no clue of what's going on in their production chain until issues like these arise?

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