Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., known as Foxconn, has been employing Chinese high school students to assemble the iPhone X as it tries to meet demand after production delays, London's Financial Times reported.
Six of the students employed by Taiwan-based Foxconn, Apple Inc.'s main supplier in Asia, told the Financial Times that they regularly worked 11-hour days at a factory in Zhengzhou. This is illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.
The six are reportedly part of 3,000 Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School students, aged between 17 to 19 years old, who started working in September.
The school told them they had to complete a three-month stint at the facility as a requirement for graduation, according to one of the students, who said that she assembled up to 1,200 iPhone X cameras a day.
Both Apple and Foxconn confirmed discovering cases of student interns working overtime and said they are taking action, but denied forced labor.
"All work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy," Foxconn was quoted as saying.
The Zhengzhou factory has been known to hire students every year in busy periods, between August and December, a long-time Foxconn employee told the FT, adding that it can increase the workforce to more than 300,000 from 100,000 to produce up to 20,000 iPhones per day. This year, however, the need was even greater, the employee said.
Foxconn recently saw its third-quarter earnings drop due to delays in iPhone production.