The Associated Press (by way of syndication in the pages of Time's Techland) reports that China-based electronics manufacturer Foxconn has admitted that underage workers are part of its massive work force in the country. Foxconn, which has had a hard time this month keeping production flowing at its plants due to riots and labor disputes, assembles a variety of electronics for Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and others.
Foxconn claims that it conducted an internal investigation and found that underage interns were working its factory located in the eastern city of Yantai. The company claims that they sent these youngsters back to school because the minimum legal working age in China is 16.
The company added that it is working with schools in the area to determine how these young interns were sent to its factory. The company did not divulge just how many underage interns it found.
"We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action," Foxconn said in a statement. "Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated.”
Labor rights group China Labor Watch said in a statement that most of the responsibility for these youngsters working in the plant falls on the schools involved but added that "Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers."
Interestingly Foxconn, which doesn't usually comment on its customers' products, went out of its way to say that Apple products are not made at its Yantai factory.