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Foxconn admits to interns working overtime, night shifts

STR| AFP| Getty Images

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics maker that supplies companies such as Apple and Sony, has admitted that student interns at one of its factories in China have worked shift patterns that are in violation of company policies.

Local media alleged the company, listed as Hon Hai Precision Industries on the Taipei stock exchange, had forced thousands of students from the Xi'an Institute of Technology to work at the plant assembling parts of Sony's PlayStation 4 games console. Foxconn responded with a statement Thursday evening that it had conducted an internal investigation at its Yantai campus, which is located around 600 kilometers from Beijing.

"(We) have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced," Foxconn said in the statement.

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"Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies. These actions include 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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Foxconn added that it its priority is to protect the rights of all workers and interns and will continue to monitor the program closely to ensure that such infractions are not repeated.

The allegations initially appeared in Chinese newspaper Dongfang Daily which reported that students who did not participate in the work program would be in danger of losing their degree certificate.

Sony were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

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Foxconn said that all the schools that participate in the internship program are required to follow specific policies established by Foxconn, including assurances that participation is voluntary and interns are free to terminate their internship at any time they choose.

This latest incident comes after the company has come under close scrutiny for several other events concerning its labor practices in China where it employs about 1 million workers. In October last year Foxconn admitted that it had employed interns as young as 14 years old at one of its factories in China.

In the same month the company confirmed that more than 200 quality control employees at the plant in Zhengzhou, China, had refused to work in protest over work conditions.

In September 2012 shares in Hon Hai Precision Industries fell almost three percent after news that it was forced to shut its factory in Northern China after a brawl between workers left 40 people injured. Whilst in June of the same year, about 100 workers went on a rampage at a Chengdu plant in southwestern China after alleged ill treatment by security guards at the plant.