Taipei--Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??), the world's largest contract electronics maker, on Friday denied a report that the company exploits interns at production sites in China.
In the report titled "Your Phone May Have Been Built by an Intern," the Nation, a weekly magazine in the United States, said that factories in China use cheap interns on their production lines and firms like Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn in the global market, was named as one of them.
In response to the report, Hon Hai said in a statement that the company's short-term internship programs are organized in accordance with Chinese law.
Hon Hai, an assembler of iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc., currently operates a broad production base in China employing more than 1 million workers. Foxconn is believed to be starting the roll out of the next generation of iPhones in its Chinese factories for an expected global launch in September.
The Nation report cited a research paper released by Hong Kong Polytechnic University as saying that about 18 million young people attending vocational schools in China are funneled into the labor market as interns.
Employers there are exploiting these young interns who are subject to worse working conditions and lower wages than the companies' average workers. The weekly named Hon Hai and Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. in the intern exploitation scheme.
"The internship infrastructure has simultaneously emerged as a way for huge corporations, including Honda and Apple contractor Foxconn, to circumvent regulations and strip young workers of their labor rights," the Nation said.
"Foreign-contracted Chinese firms exploit young workers as disposable seasonal labor to meet peak-season production demands (as when a new iPhone rolls out), at the expense of their families, the school system, and low-wage workers of all skill levels."
Hon Hai said that it works closely with Chinese authorities and vocational schools to carry out its internship programs and the number of interns during any given period of a program has never surpassed 1 percent of its total payroll.
Hon Hai said that it offers interns the same compensation a new employee receives and the wages are competitive in the market place.
According to Hon Hai, the company buys insurance plans for all its employees, including interns, so that any intern employed as part of an internship program is entitled to compensation or medical care if they get sick, are injured or die on the job.
The Hon Hai statement directly refuted the claim made in the Nation report that interns at Foxconn do not receive medical insurance, work injury insurance, unemployment benefits, maternity insurance and pensions.
The report also claimed that because of their trainee status, underpaid interns do not receive standard on-the-job "skills subsidy."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel