In the race to have Sony's PlayStation 4 console ready for launch, Foxconn pressured over 1,000 student interns to work overtime during the assembly process. After conducting an internal investigation, the component supplier recently admitted the violation to Quartz, vowing that "immediate actions" had been taken to bring the facility in question in line with Foxconn's normal assembly line policies. Further, Foxconn is said to be "reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns" following the worrying discovery. Reports first emerged yesterday from Tencent Games (translated by Games in Asia).
To pressure the students into taking part, managers at the assembly location reportedly threatened to withhold six internship course credits deemed crucial to graduating from China's Xi’an Institute of Technology. But the interns found that their assigned work had little to do with their respective areas of study. Instead, they found themselves on the assembly line carrying out mindless tasks like packaging PS4 accessories and operating manuals. These shifts ran for hours at a time — matching those of regular (and paid) employees — and often extended overnight. Foxconn has run into trouble at this very plant before; last year it admitted to hiring underage interns at the Yantai facility.
The company maintains that these latest internships were completely voluntary and that students had the option of walking away at any point. For its part, Sony says Foxconn has yet to violate its Sony Supplier Code of Conduct, suggesting that the supplier is still "complying with all applicable laws, work ethics, labor conditions, and respect for human rights, environmental conservation, and health and safety."