Apple says illegal student labor discovered at iPhone X plant in China

Apple’s new iPhone X began shipping this month. (Reuters)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Apple says illegal student labor discovered at iPhone X plant in China

BEIJING: Smartphone maker Apple Inc. and its biggest manufacturing partner on Wednesday said that a small number of students were discovered working overtime in its Chinese factory, violating local labor laws.
The students worked voluntarily in the factory for more than 11 hours a day as part of a school internship program at a plant run by Hon Hai Precision Co. Ltd, also known as Foxconn, the manufacturer confirmed.
“We discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China. We’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime,” Apple said in a statement.
Apple and Foxconn have been accused of poor labor practices in the past, but the US technology giant has been trying to get a grip of such issues, releasing annual reviews of the iPhone supply chain.
The violations announced this week come as the company is stretching to meet demand for its new iPhone X, which began shipping this month.
An earlier report by the Financial Times cited six students who worked overtime at the plant as saying the program was required for them to graduate.
The FT report said the students, aged between 17 and 19, were being forced by their school to participate in the internship.
“Our policies do not allow interns to work more than 40 hours per week on program-related assignments. Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where portions of our campuses have not adhered to this policy,” Foxconn said in a statement, adding that the interns accounted for a small part of the workforce.
Apple’s statement said that the company had sent staff to the site to address the violations.
Labour rights groups have previously criticized Apple and Foxconn for excessive overtime, hiring underage workers and failing to provide health insurance.
Since 2012 Apple says it has reduced the number of underage workers in its extended supply chain, which includes locations where rare earth minerals are mined for use in the smartphones.


German economy ‘in better shape’ than thought in Q4

Updated 28 min 24 sec ago
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German economy ‘in better shape’ than thought in Q4

  • Destatis confirmed preliminary readings of 0.0 percent expansion between October and December, adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects
  • Europe’s powerhouse only just escaped a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative growth — in the second half of 2018

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: The German economy is “in better shape” than feared, analysts said Friday, after detailed data for the fourth quarter of 2018 showed a dashboard with few red lights despite flat growth.
Figures from federal statistics authority Destatis confirmed preliminary readings of 0.0 percent expansion between October and December, adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects.
“German economic growth has stalled,” the statisticians said in a statement, with the flatline in the final three months of last year following contraction of 0.2 percent between July and September.
That meant Europe’s powerhouse only just escaped a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative growth — in the second half of 2018.
Nevertheless, “the German economy is in a better shape than its current reputation,” economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank commented on the release.
Private consumption, government spending and investments all picked up, while both imports and exports grew at around the same pace, leaving the country’s trade surplus almost flat.
“None of the traditional growth components” were negative, Brzeski noted, arguing the data showed the massive car industry’s struggles to adapt to new tougher emissions tests were the main culprit for the slowdown.
Stocks of newly-built cars had piled up in the second and third quarter, he pointed out, before being finally delivered in the fourth after passing the so-called WLTP process introduced in September.
“Inventories were a massive drag” on growth in the final three months, Unicredit analysts agreed, calculating the effect slowed the economy by “a whopping 0.6” percentage points.
“The temporary problems in the car industry mask solid fundamentals,” Brzeski said.
“In a couple of months, the German economy should be able again to show its true colors.”