Taiwan based Apple-assembling firm Foxconn has admitted overworking its interns by making them work night shifts and overtime - even though the work is "voluntary".
Foxconn confessed to mistreating its workers following a report in the Oriental Morning Post which claimed students in the city of Xian were forced to join its internship programme in Yantai, Shandong, if they wished to graduate.
The students were reportedly put to work assembling Sony's Playstation 4 and, it is alleged, were made to work 11-hour days. Sony did not respond to a request to comment from Quartz.
In a statement released to the news site Quartz, Foxconn admitted that after an internal investigation it determined that the XIT students at its Yantai factory complex had indeed been assigned night shifts and overtime, in violation of the company’s policies.
It promised that “immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies... 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".
The firm added: "In the case of recent allegations regarding the internship programme at our Yantai campus, we have conducted an internal investigation and have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced."
Foxconn has already drawn heavy criticism over allegations it mistreated workers in its Chinese factories, where it builds hardware for companies like Apple and Sony.
Tensions have been high at the Apple gear-maker for some time. The firm's workers recently erupted into a booze-fuelled riot after celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, while back in 2010 a number of suicides took place at its plants.
Foxconn employs more than a million workers and is the world's largest contract manufacturer. ®