Students have been employed illegally by Apple's main supplier in Asia in a bid to help the Cupertino-headquartered company deal with demand for new iPhone X, according to a report in The Financial Times. Because the workers are classed as students, the overtime is illegal.
Six students, among a group of 3,000 interns from Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School, told the Financial Times that they routinely work 11-hour days on the assembly line in a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China.
The students worked at the factory as part of a three-month stint that was billed as "work experience", and was required to graduate, the FT reported.
We've confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.
Foxconn said that "all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy" prohibiting student interns working more than 40 hours a week.
In response to the accusations, Apple said in statement that during a recent audit, it had found instances of student interns working overtime at one of its supplier facilities in China. "The work has nothing to do with our studies".
It's even more concerning in the case of Apple as the company has grappled with overseas labor issues for years.
The "Foxconn City" park outside of Shenzhen came under global scrutiny in 2010 after media reports about 18 suicide attempts and 14 deaths that year. Foxconn reportedly said that its internship program was carried out in co-operation with local governments and a number of vocational schools in China. She added that she is made to assemble up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras each day.
Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment by time of publication.
It's usual for Foxconn to take on temporary workers in peak iPhone season, including students, but the FT reports that more seasonal workers than usual were recruited as Foxconn tried to make up for lost time on iPhone X production.
In its 2013 report, China Labor Watch found conditions in factories run by Pegatron, another major Apple supplier, similar to those uncovered by the Financial Times.