A document has been sent to the Guardian newspaper (UK) to reveal Amazon’s supplier Foxconn hired 16-year-old student in China to produce smart speakers for Amazon.
Interviewing workers and searching documents from Foxconn showed that students in high schools and vocational schools in and around Hengyang City, Hunan Province were recruited into the “trainee” program to work in factories.
More than 1,000 students aged 16 to 18 have been recruited.
They are required to work at night and work overtime. Under Chinese law, factories are allowed to hire workers aged 16 and over but they are not allowed to work nights or overtime.
Their job is to produce Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers and Kindle reading devices during peak production periods – complement the regular workforce that the factory does not recruit enough.
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Amazon spokesman said Amazon does not accept vendors violating production regulations and they regularly evaluate suppliers with independent assessment services.
Amazon will further investigate the allegations in the report and resolve the issue with Foxconn at the highest level. A group of special experts also went to factories yesterday to investigate.
The students interviewed by the research group published the document, saying the work at the factory had nothing to do with their study and forced to work overtime.
Xiao Fang (changed character name), 17 years old, worked at the Echo speaker factory for Amazon Echo last month. Fang learned about computers and was tasked with attaching protective films to about 3,000 Echo Dot speakers every day.
She said at first the teacher announced that they did 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but in fact, she worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.
“The light in the workshop is very dazzling and the room is very hot. At first, I was not used to it but after a month, I was reluctant to adapt to the job.
But working 10 hours a day I feel very tired. I told my manager I didn’t want to work overtime. This person told my teacher and he said that if I didn’t work overtime, I would not be able to practice at Foxconn. This will affect graduation as well as applying for scholarships later. I have no choice and can only continue “- Xiao Fang said.
According to documents, Foxconn managers need to mobilize students to work overtime to achieve product goals. Those who refuse to do more are laid off by the factory.
The report shows that trainees are a solution that benefits factories because they are paid low, can be recruited in large numbers each time, easily arranged in different positions and able to learn quickly.