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Underage Foxconn interns return to school

(Xinhua)

09:33, October 18, 2012

YANTAI, Shandong, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Students from vocational schools in east China's city of Yantai are returning to their classrooms following a Tuesday apology from Foxconn, a major electronics manufacturer that hired the children to work as interns.

A spokesman from the Administration Committee of Yantai Development Zone said Wednesday that 56 underage interns would be picked up by school employees to bring them back to their schools.

Foxconn, the largest supplier of Apple Inc., said in a Tuesday statement that it carried out an internal investigation at a factory in Yantai and found that it had employed underage interns ranging in age from 14 to 16 for about three weeks.

Foxconn spokesman Bruce Liu said Wednesday that the statement was an "apology to the underage workers and their parents."

The administration committee's spokesman, who declined to be named, said Wednesday that negotiations between the city government and Foxconn will allow interns above the age of 16 to discontinue their internships after filing an application to do so.

Some of the children said their internships were supposed to last from one to three months. The children are paid less than 2,000 yuan per month for their work, much less than the factory's adult workers.

The children said they engage in the same work as the adult workers, laboring on production lines and helping with distribution.

"The workers are working against the clock to produce Nintendo Wii gamepads, as the company has been trying to catch up with its orders. It is common for us to work overtime," said one of the students.

Liu said the incident is an individual case and has not occurred in any other Foxconn factories on the Chinese mainland.

"Foxconn is expanding its manufacturing ability on the mainland. The company cooperated with vocational schools with the help of local authorities to hire student interns to work in some of Foxconn's factories in order to solve occasional labor shortage issues," Liu said.

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