25 February 2016

Report finds Chinese factories unfairly using student labour to make IT products

Chinese students as young as 15 are being forced to work 12 hour days assembling computer monitors under the guise of mandatory internships, a report conducted by People & Planet and DanWatch has found. Many of the computer products manufactured under such schemes are transported and sold in Europe. Campaigners are calling on universities to boycott the products, and for university leaders to sign up to Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organisation focusing on labour rights in the electronics industry.

The school children were told that if they did not take part in the five month internships programme their school diplomas could be withheld – a practice that contravenes international labour law. The factory focused on in the report, run by Wistron Corportation, produces IT equipment for such well-known firms as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. It is based in the Chinese city of Zhongshan.

When confronted with evidence of the practices, HP and Dell applied pressure to temporarily suspend the use of student interns at the factory. Lenovo said that any violations of labour laws would not be tolerated, and that they would be carrying out spot-check audits to ensure that such abuses do not occur in the future.

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