Foxconn may be in hot water again as the contract manufacturing giant admitted to using student interns at one of its factories in China to assemble parts of Sony's upcoming Playstation 4 gaming console - a violation of the company's policies discovered in an internal investigation.
Allegations of forced labor originally appeared in Chinese newspaper Dongfang Daily after a news story was reported of students being in danger of losing degree certificates and six course credits if they didn't comply with Foxconn's work program. The company has a working deal with China's Xi'an Institute of Technology where the goal is to educate more than a thousand students on assembly line experience.
On Thursday, the manufacturer released a statement acknowledging the issue which seems to be centered around its Yantai campus.
"(We) have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not informed," said Foxconn in a statement. "Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies. These actions include 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."
During their time at Foxconn, student work included gluing components, applying stickers and boxing up cords, according to Quartz. Compensation was on par with entry-level workers.
This isn't the first time Foxconn has raised controversies over its labor practices. Along with acknowledging its hiring of inters as young as 14-years-old at a factory, the manufacturer has had to deal with strikes, riots and even suicides in the past. The company even went as far as installing nets outside its buildings to catch employees attempting suicide at its Shenzhen factory.
A household name in manufacturing since the early 70s, Foxconn has been the go-to electronics maker for technology giants including Apple, Nokia and Microsoft. It employs about 800,000 people.
Sony, whose Playstation 4 console will hit stateside on November 15, has been relatively quite about the controversy.