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Unpaid interns worked overtime manufacturing PS4s

Up to 1,000 unpaid student interns worked overtime and night shifts in a Foxconn plant manufacturing PS4s, despite company regulations. The Chinese electronic giant, which also manufactures Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo products, said today that the situation has been dealt with.

"Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies," Foxconn said in a statement to business news outlet Quartz, including "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."

Though Foxconn says the students from the Xi'an Institute of Technology were free to leave at any time, other reports state that the students were at risk of losing course credits, and thus being unable to graduate, if they refused participation. The interns' coursework was not otherwise related to work on a manufacturing line, the reports say.

In a statement to CVG, Sony said it understands Foxconn adheres to its supplier code of conduct.

"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 and safety. We understand Foxconn fully comprehend and comply with this Sony Supplier Code of Conduct."

16 comments

  • PatHan-bHai - October 11, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    Meh. Almost every single little damn electronic thing we buy is made by Chinese 'slave' labor.
  • SpadesSlick - October 11, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    What a crock of shit. They obviously intended to ream free labor for all the profit they could get and their bullshit is pathetically transparent.
  • JarkayColt - October 10, 2013 11 a.m.

    Wasn't there something else like this recently (and when I say "recently" I mean this past year)? Something to do with dodgy practices at Foxconn and either the Wii U or 3DS I think? All I'm saying is that it's definitely not the first time it's happened. It would say that it needs looking into, but this IS China we're talking about. They let all sorts of things slide over there (copyright infringement immediately springs to mind.) If the companies have a problem with these sorts of practices then it's kind of their fault for taking their business to China. It's not like Sony or Nintendo couldn't have made their stuff in Japan where they can monitor it a little more closely. They just want to be where the cheap labour's at. Or should I say free? Despicable!
  • Eightboll812 - October 10, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    Yeah I mentioned it below. It was the Apple iPhone 5c that prompted the last incident with this manufacturer.
  • Sy87 - October 10, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    Sometimes the industry can really suck.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    This isn't really a problem with the video-game industry though, so much as it is a problem with pretty much any corporate industry that creates a physical products. They will always look to make stuff at the cheapest prices possible, and if that means outsourcing to other countries and possibly breaking gazillions of regulations, fuck it, all be it in the name of profit.
  • Vonter - October 10, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    It's also bad management and the negative side of competition (it doesn't have compassion for the little guy). Also Nintendo has had it's share of wrongs with the regulation of the making of it's console. It's like a jungle where only the strong and opportunistic survives.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    ...You make it sound as if it would be better is there was no competition, or less of it... Which it wouldn't, companies would STILL do it in order to save money and make more profit. Don't kind yourself though, it's always been a jungle, and it always will be, no matter the time or society. Anyone that tells you any other kind of society structure is better is wrong, the results are always plain to see. It's just the way humanity works *shrugs*
  • Vonter - October 10, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    Well yeah it sounded that way, sorry. I think competition it's good for the consumer, and I'm maybe naive, but I like to think competition it what makes us look to get better, mainly when it drives people to create new and better things. Like science, it's just that economics don't have ethics (we just enforce them) since looking for profit or knowledge can be very drastic. It's not about negating it but also expecting it can be better, since in the end a person or company without morals creates just selfdestructive attitudes.
  • Eightboll812 - October 10, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    "Also Nintendo has had it's share of wrongs with the regulation of the making of it's console." I don't think the implication is that Sony is responsible and should have picked a Western manufacture that charges double per unit. They ALL do it. If it's not Foxconn, it's Flextronics or Accton, or whatever. All the manufacturers have this problem, and all the companies use Chinese manufacturers. Sure a few don't, but those that don't use Mexico or Taiwan...places that have SLIGHTLY better controls over human labor problems.
  • Eightboll812 - October 10, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    Sadly, this is the way the whole system works these days. These Chinese manufacturing companies bid low, get the contract and then figure out how to meet their own budgetary commitments, and usually that means not paying people, not meeting safety conditions in the factory, inhumane living conditions, or using what we would effectively term "slave labor". Apple, Sony, MS and everyone else, they look the other way and pretend they don't know these companies do these things, and plead ignorance when it comes to light. It wasn't more than a couple months ago, there was a big stink over Apple and the iPhone 5c at this same company. And of course the problem was "dealt with", which we all know means they fixed things up long enough for an inspector to come through and say it's all "ok", before going right back to the way it was before.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    Aaaand this is why whether we like it or not, sooner than later we're gonna be looking at a Firefly-like future in which the universal language shall be Chinese...Except it will also have less spaceships, and more censorship and anti-suicide nets >_>;
  • Eightboll812 - October 10, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    I already liked you, but referencing Firefly means I heart you, lol. Great show. I'm just waiting to be able to watch it again with my oldest daughter who is developing a bit of an interest in sci-fi.
  • BladedFalcon - October 10, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Haha, thanks! XD And well, it's easily one of my favorite shows that I've watched so far. Watched it several times already and yes, I'm also kinda waiting for a chance to watch it again with my Girlfriend eventually XD
  • larkan - October 10, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    If the guidelines state they were free to leave at any time, they should've just worked their 40 hours and then quit going in that week, it's pretty simple. They wouldn't have lost credits if they followed their own guidelines. Sounds like these kids were just excited to work on PS4s.
  • Eightboll812 - October 10, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    I think it is obvious from the way it's stated that they would lose credits regardless of whether they were legally able to quit or not. They would just trump up some false charge to claim they were in violation of their work contract, like say they were reprimanded by a supervisor for sloppy work. Whatever it takes to appear legitimate on the surface. It's easy to say from our ergonomic computer chairs that they could leave. I highly doubt they were excited about the PS4. These are people who don't have PS3's, much less expect to afford a PS4. These are people who are playing the game of the system with the promise that someday, if they do everything asked of them, 2% of them might actually rise out of poverty, get a decent job and be able to afford a modest living. The rest will be doomed to a vicious cycle of working that same factory or making clothes for Martha Stewart. Don't be fooled by these kids being called "students". Don't picture them as your average dude-bro American college student living on parents' credit cards, playing Xbox, driving an Audi around campus. The merest hint of "not graduating" is akin to putting a gun to their head and saying "WORK!!!!!" This batch of kids are the lucky ones, because an article was written, faux outrage posted across the Internet, and then Foxconn has to let these kids off the hook. The next group through won't be so lucky.

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