Foxconn is under pressure again after it broke its labor rules while building Sony’s PlayStation 4 console. The Taiwanese manufacturer, which produces devices for Apple, Microsoft and countless other tech firms, was found to have given interns overtime shifts to boost staff on its assembly line.
Games In Asia translated Chinese reports (including this one from Tencent Games) which claimed that “thousands” of student’s from an IT engineering program at the Xi’an Institute of Technology joined its Yantai factory where the Sony console, which goes on sale in the US and other markets from next month, is being produced.
That’s not a big deal in itself — since student/intern work itself isn’t illegal; Foxconn works with local authorities and schools directly on its programs — but, the reports claim, the workers were ‘forced’ to participate on all kinds of shift patterns in order to gain six course credits that they need in order to graduate.
Foxconn went on record with a statement to Quartz (which TNW has also received) that, although not confirming that the PlayStation 4 is the product involved, does reveal that in “a few instances,” students from the institute were assigned to night shifts and overtime — which is a breach of Foxconn policy.
The company says it has taken “immediate action” to stop these violations and is “reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.”
Given that issues around workers rights are not uncommon for Foxconn and are far removed from the consumer purchasing process, it seems unlikely that this episode will affect consumer interest in the PlayStation 4, which will be rivaled by Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One console.
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