Students from a university in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, allegedly have been forced to do assembly work at a Foxconn plant under the guise of internships, according to the Shanghai Daily.
The newspaper reports that 200 students were driven to a factory run by Foxconn after the company experienced a labor shortage ahead of Apple's anticipated new iPhone, which is likely to be revealed at a September 12 press event.
Citing a student from the Huai'an Institute of Technology under the online alias MengniuIQ84, the publication writes that after working on production lines, each student was paid 1,550 yuan ($243) per month for a six-day week, 12 hours a day. However, each worker also had to pay "hundreds of yuan for food and accommodation."
A student called Youyoyu told the Shanghai Daily that students from departments of law, English, and management were all pressed into service. In addition, MengniuIQ84 said that Chinese authorities ordered schools to assist Foxconn, but parents were not informed -- and no signed agreements or contracts were in place.
First Financial Daily a sophomore studying accounting in Huai'an who uses the alias Pony. Instead of a classroom, the publication reports that she began working on the production line at the Foxconn Huai'an factory, as part of a two-month "internship."
A Chinese National Radio report said these "internships" have resulted in class suspension over the next few months, according to the Shanghai Daily. Several local teachers acknowledged the move, stating that the work was compulsory in order for students to "experience working conditions and promote individual ability."
Foxconn is reported to be short 10,000 workers ahead of Apple's product launch, and in order to keep production moving, working with local colleges has become an option. In addition, students are allegedly told that not agreeing to the "internship" will affect their academic credits -- and therefore graduation.