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Foxconn admits to flouting labour rules

Foxconn has admitted labour abuses at one of its factories in China as it revealed that interns worked in breach of company policies by working night shifts despite regulations forbidding the practice.

The company, which manufacturers components for the likes of Apple, Sony, Microsoft, HP and Nokia, confessed to hiring underage interns that worked shifts that convened rules at a plant that has been under scrutiny for labour practices.

"There have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced," the company said in a statement published by the BBC.

The news comes just days after Quartz had revealed that interns working on the assembly line responsible for the PlayStation 4 had been working night shifts at the request of the Taiwanese company. The article revealed that some 1,000 interns were working night shifts and long periods of overtime in advance of the console’s release on 15 November.

Age requirements for new workers at the plant were altered in July with the age limit raised from 18 to 23 but that regulation doesn’t cover those carrying out work as an intern and thus explains the confusion.

Foxconn is best known for being one of Apple’s main suppliers in China and Foxconn’s controversial recent past has been much publicised with three employees committing suicide in the space of a month in May.

Google signed a deal earlier on this year to acquire patents from Foxconn to use in its Google Glass eyewear with the patents linked to gaming and training simulations.

It followed the Wall Street Journal reporting back in May that Foxconn was attempting to find new opportunities beyond jobs and was branching out into brand-name electronics accessories and investments in media content and software.