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© iFixit (illustration purposes only!) Electronics Production | November 28, 2013

Students forced to work on Sony PlayStation 4 assembly lines

Thousands of students from the Xi’an Institute of Technology have been participating in an internship programme, as it is officially called, at Foxconn.
"The students do not have much choice, as they are told that they will not receive six essential course credits if they do not complete this internship. which effectively means they will not be able to graduate. Moreover, the work that they are being given in no way matches their study programme or their competence levels", writes newssite GamesinAsia.

In the case of the Sony PlayStation 4, manufactured in the Yantai factory of Foxconn in China, it is said in the article that Foxconn is using this method to solve its labour shortage problems in a cheap way. The educational institute is also playing a part in the story as it is actively promoting this internship to students. It remains unclear if the institute is receiving money for the role it plays.

Students who participate in the Foxconn internship programme are given work that is in no way related to their field of study nor at the level of work expected from an internship. They may be studying Finance & Accounting, for example, and be put to work packing playstations, gluing together different parts of the console and applying stickers. “What’s more, students have reported that their working hours and activities are exactly the same as those of the regular workforce, including overwork and night shifts. And the crux of the matter is the fact that they are not allowed to stop as this would prevent them from graduating,” says Irene Schipper, makeITfair researcher.

Foxconn has responded to the allegations via Quartz, the company told Quartz that: “Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies,” and that it will be “reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.”

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