In response to a new series of reports that interns are regularly exploited while working for Taiwanese global electronics supplier Foxconn, which assembles many popular consumer gadgets sold in the U.S. by Amazon to Dell to Apple (namely the iPhone and iPad), the company has provided the following statement to TPM denying it pays interns less than other workers or offers them any worse a deal, saying instead interns receive "relevant industry experience."
Here's Foxconn's new statement, reprinted in full:
Statement From Foxconn Technology Group
Foxconn has long had a short-term internship program that we carry out in cooperation with a number of vocational schools in China. Participants in the internship program, all of whom are of legal working age in China, represent an average of 2.7 percent of our workforce in China. The internship programs range in length from one to six months and students are free to leave the internship program at any time.
While we provide vocational schools with our qualification requirements, it is the schools that recruit the students under the supervision of the relevant local government and the schools also assign teachers to accompany and monitor the students throughout their internship program. In addition to allowing the students to gain relevant industry experience while earning the same industry-competitive compensation as our full-time entry-level workers, this program gives Foxconn an opportunity to identify participants in the internship program who have the potential to be excellent full-time employees should they wish to join our company upon graduation from their vocational school.
A recent audit of three of our facilities in China carried out by the Fair Labor Association confirmed that there was no evidence to indicate that any of the interns were pressured to participate in or to continue to participate in any internship program. A previous audit by the Fair Labor Association confirmed that students find their participation in this program valuable and that the positions offered by Foxconn were at compensation levels equivalent to entry-level full-time workers.