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Foxconn using overtime 'interns' to manufacture PlayStation 4
Foxconn using overtime 'interns' to manufacture PlayStation 4
October 9, 2013 | By Christian Nutt

Citing a Chinese-language story from the Oriental Morning Post which appeared on Tencent's news portal, consumer site Games in Asia reports that Foxconn has arranged with the Xi'an Institute of Information Engineering to place students in "internships" at its Yantai plant.

According to the story, Xi'an students are required to complete these "internships" at the factory or risk losing course credit -- but at the plant, they end up tasked with basic manufacturing, packaging, or logistics jobs unrelated to their course of study.

Headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world. However, it has often been in the news for serious issues at its factories. Last year, the New York Times published a lengthy expose of problems surrounding the manufacture of Apple's products by the firm.

It was also revealed that the company had teenagers building Nintendo's Wii U, a practice it stopped after Nintendo investigated. The company first entered the broad public consciousness in 2010 when its workers frequently began to commit suicide.

Gamasutra has reached out to Sony for comment and will update this story if any is forthcoming.

[Update: Sony has offered the following statement to Gamasutra: "The Sony Group established the 'Sony Supplier Code of Conduct' in June 2005 with the expectation of every supplier agreeing and adhering to the policies of the Sony Group in complying with all applicable laws, work ethics, labour conditions, and respect for human rights, environmental conservation and health & safety. We understand Foxconn fully comprehend and comply with this 'Sony Supplier Code of Conduct.'"

Meanwhile, Foxconn has told Quartz that following an internal investigation, it has determined that the XIT students at its Yantai factory complex were assigned to night shifts and overtime, which is in violation of the company's policies.

"Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies," the company said, noting it was "reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time."]

Correction: A previous version of this article said the internships are unpaid, though reports now show that is not the case. The internships are actually paid, at the same monthly rate as Foxconn workers (1800 yuan per month, or around $295). The real issues here were that Foxconn had these students working overtime and night shifts, which is in violation of policies.

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