Hon Hai says intern overtime brought to an end

Taipei-Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's largest contract electronics maker, has said it has eliminated illegal overtime work by interns in China after the practice was first reported by the Financial Times earlier this week.

Speaking to CNA on Friday, Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn in the global market, said it took action to improve working conditions after the report appeared, and interns will not be allowed to work more than 40 hours a week, the maximum they can work under Chinese law.

The Financial Times first reported that interns at Hon Hai's factory in Zhengzhou in Henan province were working overtime in violation of the law as the company struggled to catch up with demand for the iPhone X.

Hon Hai, which is thought to be the only assembler of the premium iPhone X, said it launched an investigation into its Zhengzhou factory after the report surfaced and found that some interns were working overtime.

The company said that after it requested the plant's management to correct the situation, interns there are no longer working overtime.

It has also come up with plans to randomly review interns' work schedules to ensure that their working conditions meet applicable standards, the company said.

The Taiwanese manufacturing giant said interns only account for a small fraction of its workforce in China, where it employs about 1 million workers.

According to the Financial Times report, about 3,000 students worked at Hon Hai's iPhone X assembly plant in Zhengzhou as the company sought to ramp up production and meet a demand backlog after experiencing production delays.

Six individuals who worked for Hon Hai as interns in the Zhengzhou plant told the Financial Times that they regularly worked 11-hour shifts to assemble the new iPhone X, a practice that violated China's labor laws.

According to the paper, the students, aged 17 to 19, said they worked as interns at Hon Hai to fulfill the requirements to complete their education.

Hon Hai has faced accusations of labor law violations and worker exploitation in the past and even been labeled as a company running blood and sweat factories in China to produce iPhones and iPads for Apple, its biggest customer.

In 2010, some employees committed suicide after reportedly working long hours in Hon Hai factories.

The delay in iPhone X shipments, caused by its upgrade in specifications including the use of facial recognition technology, has not only caused the company to jumpstart production but also affected the company's bottom line.

Hon Hai reported declines in its gross margin and operating margin for the third quarter, and while its net profit for the quarter rose 17.61 percent from a year earlier to NT$21.03 billion (US$701 million), analysts attributed the growth largely to returns on the company's non-core business investments.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel