Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices


Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices

 

Leaked documents show children as young as 16 recruited by Amazon supplier Foxconn work gruelling and illegal hours
Hundreds of schoolchildren have been drafted in to make Amazon’s Alexa devices in China as part of a controversial and often illegal attempt to meet production targets, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.
Interviews with workers and leaked documents from Amazon’s supplier Foxconn  show that many of the children have been required to work nights and overtime to produce the smart-speaker devices, in breach of Chinese labour laws.
According to the documents, the teenagers – drafted in from schools and technical colleges in and around the central southern city of Hengyang – are classified as “interns”, and their teachers are paid by the factory to accompany them. Teachers are asked to encourage uncooperative pupils to accept overtime work on top of regular shifts.
Some of the pupils making Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo and Echo Dot devices along with Kindles have been required to work for more than two months to supplement staffing levels at the factory during peak production periods, researchers found. More than 1,000 pupils are employed, aged from 16 to 18.
Chinese factories are allowed to employ students aged 16 and older, but these schoolchildren are not allowed to work nights or overtime.
Foxconn, which also makes iPhones for Apple, admitted that students had been employed illegally and said it was taking immediate action to fix the situation.
The company said in a statement: “We have doubled the oversight and monitoring of the internship program with each relevant partner school to ensure that, under no circumstances, will interns [be] allowed to work overtime or nights.
“There have been instances in the past where lax oversight on the part of the local management team has allowed this to happen and, while the impacted interns were paid the additional wages associated with these shifts, this is not acceptable and we have taken immediate steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”

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