An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Apple has reprimanded one of its largest manufacturers after a Financial Times investigation found that thousands of student interns had worked overtime to assemble iPhones, in breach of Chinese law. After being contacted by the FT, Apple said it had stopped giving “new business” to Pegatron, its second-largest iPhone assembler after Foxconn. However, workers there said the factory was still manufacturing new products ahead of the holidays. Pegatron, which has headquarters in Taiwan but has operations in China, is one of Apple’s largest manufacturers, producing iPhones, Macs, iPads and other components for several years. It has also faced recurring allegations about working conditions from campaign groups such as China Labor Watch. Until last month, thousands of student interns had assembled iPhones at Pegatron’s Kunshan plant and illegally worked overtime and night shifts, according to former interns and workers at the plant. Chinese government regulations prevent students from interning in factories if the work is unrelated to their studies. The alleged coercive use of students during the factory’s peak production periods mirrors the abuses previously found by the FT at Foxconn. Schools and local governments often collaborate to ensure labor supply for big companies in China. The latest disclosures follow the death last month of a worker in his mid-thirties after falling unconscious in a Pegatron dormitory. Apple said: “We have a rigorous review and approval process for any student worker program, which ensures the intern’s work is related to their major and prohibits overtime or night shifts. Pegatron misclassified the student workers in their program and falsified paperwork to disguise violations.” Pegatron said: “During [a] recent monitoring program conducted by our customer, some student workers at Pegatron Shanghai and Kunshan campus were identified working night shifts, overtime and in positions unrelated to their majors, which were not in compliance with local rules and regulations.”
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