Amazon probing child labor allegations against Foxconn in China
Amazon says it is probing reports that found that teenage schoolchildren in China were illegally being forced by Foxconn to work overtime and night shifts at a manufacturing facility assembling Amazon’s smart devices.
A spokesperson for Amazon told CNBC that it was “urgently investigating” allegations raised in The Guardian about the facility, located in Hengyang, China, where “interns” aged 16 and older were reportedly forced by supervisors to work shifts in violation of Chinese labor laws.
“We are urgently investigating these allegations and addressing this with Foxconn at the most senior level. Additional teams of specialists arrived on-site yesterday to investigate, and we’ve initiated weekly audits of this issue,” the spokesperson told CNBC.
“If we find violations, we take appropriate steps, including requesting immediate corrective action,” they added.
The manufacturing plant in southern China produces Amazon devices including the Kindle, Echo, and Echo Dot.
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Documents obtained by The Guardian from the facility showed that children as young as 16 were forced to take overtime on top of their regular shifts for as much as two months at a time as the facility attempted to meet production targets.
Foxconn has admitted to the British newspaper that students were employed to work illegal shifts and pledged to increase oversight.
“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,” the company reportedly said.
“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,” the statement continued.