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Wii U manufacturer Foxconn employed underaged workers

Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of the Wii U, has admitted to employing 14-year-old students in making the consoles. Various reportage compiled by Eurogamer confirms the students, as part of an internship program, were illegally put to work to cover a production shortfall in advance of the console's November 18 launch.

"Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks," Foxconn told Reuters. "This is not only a violation of China's labor law [which sets the working age at 16], it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions."

Reports from watchdog group China Labor Watch indicated Chinese technical students were forced by their schools to either take the internships or risk losing credit. Once there, they were treated as any other workers, taking on long night shifts and overtime. Foxconn also manufactures the iPhone and several other popular consumer electronics, and has appeared repeatedly in the news for alleged labor violations.

Nintendo responded to IGN's request for comment on the child labor issue.

"Nintendo is in communication with Foxconn and is investigating the matter. We take our responsibilities as a global company very seriously and are committed to an ethical policy on sourcing, manufacture and labor," Nintendo said. "If we were to find that any of our production partners did not meet our guidelines, we would require them to modify their practices according to Nintendo’s policy."

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Foxconn Nintendo

35 comments

  • amagasakiseb - October 20, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    Nintendo knows full well that this sort of thing happens in countries where labour protection laws are weak and wages are low. Unfortunately, we greedy shits wouldn't buy their consoles if they sold them at the price warranted from manufacturing in the UK or the US. "We are in communication with Foxconn" yeah I bet they just sent someone to China to say "Who the hell let the watchdog into the factory??!!!"
  • AmigaEngine - October 19, 2012 1:01 p.m.

    It is regrettable that a company would pursue young children and force them to assemble a product that Foxconn agreed to manufacture. Not blaming Nintendo but they should be able to oversee the manufacturing process to assure this does not happen again
  • Thedigitalg - October 19, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    Well there is no indication of how long they worked, or if they were forced. I have worked since the age of 13, until I was 16 I worked 15 hour weeks around school-time. If this was a volunteer program, and they weren't working 18 hour shifts, just for work experience, it's fine, clearly. If not, well, these laws are there for a reason. If we allowed children to work as many hours as adults, a lot of parents would force children into work and they'd lose an education. People need to realise there's more to life than a new gadget. I don't hold Nintendo in any higher or lower regard because of this, but it is a bit suspect even having a contract with a company known for its high worker suicide rate. So bad, their buildings have safety nets around the roofs.
  • gaiachaos - October 31, 2012 7:07 p.m.

    Actually, they were forced. This kind of thing happens in China. They typically work a 12 hour shift with two 1 hours breaks...except they are not getting paid.
  • burritobaron - October 18, 2012 9:42 p.m.

    What I'm getting from this discussion is "who cares about child labour? I want my console!" Good to know we're all such morally upstanding citizens. And Nintendo has a questionable record with production and is much less transparent on their production practices than their competition.
  • filipe-alves - October 18, 2012 9:07 p.m.

    Not surprising, Nintendo is just one more of the hundreds of companies that exploit child labor. In the end this just goes to show the main concern of all the big companies, profit and only profit, screw the chinese children, they're not my children anyways so why should I care?
  • nintendo365 - October 18, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    I got my 1st job at 14 too, whats the issue? I was working outdoors picking trash, glass, used condoms, drug needles and other sick shit from the streets. I doubt working in a factory is 1/3 as bad.
  • brickman409 - October 18, 2012 4:30 p.m.

    these kids were interns, they weren't getting paid
  • KnowYourPokemon - October 18, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Being forced by your school to work an "internship" late nights without any pay is clearly the same as having the option of geting a job at 14 being able to quit if it affects your school work right?
  • 7-D - October 18, 2012 5:53 p.m.

    Probably not that bad? "The Foxconn suicides occurred between January and November 2010, when eighteen Foxconn employees attempted suicide with fourteen deaths, 'most jumping from the buidling'. In response to the suicides, Foxconn substantially increased wages for its Shenzhen factory workforce, installed suicide-prevention netting, and asked employees to sign no-suicide pledges." I had a job at 13 working with my uncle. It helped build a work ethic and gave me lots of pocket money, but it was ultimately my choice. Being essentially forced to cover up a labour shortage for 'school credits' in a factory that already has a ghastly reputation just doesn't sit too well with me and i'm sure with many others.
  • db1331 - October 18, 2012 6:22 p.m.

    "I was working outdoors picking trash, glass, used condoms, drug needles" So your mom made you clean the back yard. Big deal.
  • TheCakeIsaPie - October 19, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    Bwahahahaha!
  • ParagonT - October 19, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    Oh...well...that was one of the greatest retorts I've seen in awhile hahaha.
  • gaiachaos - October 31, 2012 7:11 p.m.

    The teenagers were working as slaves. This means they weren't getting paid.
  • Moondoggie1157 - October 18, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Dear god, a company giving students useful experience in a work environment, What has this world come to! Especially a Gaming company, that would be just terrible for 14-16 year old kids to see and be a part of, they definitely have no interest in video games or anything along those lines. But, wait! With internships comes job opportunity... Jeez, I'm sure glad my high school didn't offer me an internship possibility, I mean if they did I might not have had to spend 30 grand on a post secondary education that MIGHT offer me an internship placement but in the end doesn't secure anything for me... Those monsters!
  • JarkayColt - October 18, 2012 2:10 p.m.

    Okay, look, you do have a fair point, but please do drop the sarcasm because this situation is a bit deeper than that. Firstly, if you want to simplify it, you may as well take Nintendo out of the equation. They pretty much had nothing to do with this and it's not "working for a gaming company" at all. These are people who were forced to do an internship by their school at a manufacturing plant they probably had no intentions of working at. It might've been okay had it been temporary "work experience", but they were treated as full-time employees and even had unfair overtime. I think if you sign up for an internship you don't expect to be shoved right into the deep end like that. I certainly don't think it's what a student expects, anyway, plus, I don't think there'd have been much of a ladder to climb beyond this. Not saying I don't see where you're coming from, but it doesn't really correlate with the situation here.
  • ParagonT - October 19, 2012 12:36 p.m.

    I think your going to be hard pressed to find people who are grateful to be blatantly coerced by your own school to work as free labor in a place that not only has a bad streak as a suicidal training camp (being snide) but a place that works your butt off just like any other veteran employee. I would love for my school to have given me the choice of internships as well, but that's a bit different from them forcing you to work somewhere that you may not even have any interest in and make profit from your helplessness. China isn't the worst place to live, but it's a far cry from having decent human rights.
  • RonnyLive19881 - October 18, 2012 12:03 p.m.

    I got my first job at 12... it was 10X harder than putting together badass gaming consoles. Worked out side in the Mississippi heat(most of the time 109+ days forecasted for the week and holy hell the humidity...)going from trap to trap positioned at the end of cotton fields to empty them of boll weevils(had to store them on the 4 wheeler and them ship them to my employer at the end of the day), they are small beetles that destroy cotton crops(by the way, that is how I saved up to get a Gamecube, MY own money bought it no my parents Lol). We have to accept that other countries run them selves differently... especially China with them being communists. All civilized countries take advantage of the Chinese effed up labor conditions and don't think twice about it because it makes our lives cheaper and easier. I wish we could change that but try to change China is like poking a dragon in the ass with a light saber and expecting not to get your ass cooked. To be clear, I am against the forcing of child labor but really what are you gunna do? If I obsessed over it pretty much all decent pieces of technology I own would go in the trash. All this article did for me was when I get my Wii U this November, I'll most likely donate a few hundred dollars to a group that focuses on putting a stop to this type of thing in China if they have those.
  • RonnyLive19881 - October 18, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    not*

Showing 1-20 of 35 comments

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