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Nintendo Comments on Foxconn's Underage Workers

By - Source: IGN | B 23 comments

Nintendo says it will conduct an investigation into how underage students came to work as interns at Foxconn.

Earlier this week, Foxconn admitted to hiring underage workers as part of an internship program it was running at one of its factories. The company's admission (made to CNet) came hot on the heels of a report from China Labor Watch, a New York-based non-profit, alleging that the company had failed to check the IDs of incoming students applying for its internship program.

Now, one of Foxconn's partners, has released a statement about the incident. Video game giant Nintendo today said that it is investigating the matter with Foxconn. Nintendo said that it requires all production partners to comply with guidelines it set out in its Nintendo CSR Procurement Guidelines in 2008.

"Nintendo is in communication with Foxconn and is investigating the matter. We take our responsibilities as a global company very seriously and are committed to an ethical policy on sourcing, manufacture and labor. In order to ensure the continued fulfillment of our social responsibility throughout our supply chain, we established the Nintendo CSR Procurement Guidelines in July 2008," the company said, according to IGN.

"We require that all production partners, including Foxconn, comply with these Guidelines, which are based on relevant laws, international standards and guidelines. If we were to find that any of our production partners did not meet our guidelines, we would require them to modify their practices according to Nintendo’s policy. For more information about Nintendo’s Corporate Social Responsibility report, please visit http://www.nintendo.co.jp/csr/en/index.html."

Foxconn earlier this week said that it was investigating how the underage workers were admitted to the internship program when they were not legally old enough to work. Chinese labor laws put the minimum age for working at 16-years-old. According to China Labor Watch, a small number of student interns aged between 14-years-old and 16-years-old were sent to Foxconn by schools. Foxconn did not check the students' IDs to confirm their ages. Foxconn said that immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.

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  • 20 Hide
    assasin32 , October 18, 2012 8:41 PM
    Nintendo, one of the few companies I actually have respect for. I fully expect them to do an actual investigation rather than try to brush this under the rug, so I hope issues are resolved in on form or another.
  • 18 Hide
    dalethepcman , October 18, 2012 8:58 PM
    steps Foxcon takes to alleviate concerns about underage workers ... "we have begun installing smaller nets, the children were able to slip through the old ones"

  • 17 Hide
    bllue , October 18, 2012 8:57 PM
    dameon51Are 14 year old year old workers on an internship that big of a deal? Here in Saskatchewan Canada 14 year old workers are allowed (although most don't because their parents buy them everything anyways).So foxconn didn't check some id's. Big deal. They generally run a pretty tight ship.

    Except underage interns in Canada or in the US aren't put to work 80 hours a week
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    assasin32 , October 18, 2012 8:41 PM
    Nintendo, one of the few companies I actually have respect for. I fully expect them to do an actual investigation rather than try to brush this under the rug, so I hope issues are resolved in on form or another.
  • -9 Hide
    dameon51 , October 18, 2012 8:52 PM
    Are 14 year old year old workers on an internship that big of a deal? Here in Saskatchewan Canada 14 year old workers are allowed (although most don't because their parents buy them everything anyways).

    So foxconn didn't check some id's. Big deal. They generally run a pretty tight ship.
  • 0 Hide
    kanoobie , October 18, 2012 8:54 PM
    assasin32Nintendo, one of the few companies I actually have respect for. I fully expect them to do an actual investigation rather than try to brush this under the rug, so I hope issues are resolved in on form or another.

    I agree, I can put my cynicism aside and actually believe Nintendo will respond appropriately to this development even if Foxconn tries to brush this under the rug.
  • 17 Hide
    bllue , October 18, 2012 8:57 PM
    dameon51Are 14 year old year old workers on an internship that big of a deal? Here in Saskatchewan Canada 14 year old workers are allowed (although most don't because their parents buy them everything anyways).So foxconn didn't check some id's. Big deal. They generally run a pretty tight ship.

    Except underage interns in Canada or in the US aren't put to work 80 hours a week
  • -8 Hide
    spookyman , October 18, 2012 8:57 PM
    Whats wrong with a little child slavery?

    How else are they going to be able to sell the Wii U at a profit?
  • 18 Hide
    dalethepcman , October 18, 2012 8:58 PM
    steps Foxcon takes to alleviate concerns about underage workers ... "we have begun installing smaller nets, the children were able to slip through the old ones"

  • 0 Hide
    tului , October 18, 2012 9:19 PM
    I'm sure it is hard to get fake IDs in a place as corrupt as China...
  • 11 Hide
    funguseater , October 18, 2012 10:17 PM
    Ummm, I started working in warehousing at the age of 14, loading/unloading trailers for Coca-Cola at our city's depot. After school and on weekends work sucked, but I was the one flush with cash on my days off.

    And not only is noone FORCING these people to work for Foxconn (one of the better paying employers now), recently the chinese government lowered the allowed overtime to 60hrs a week and workers COMPLAINED because now they have lost a significant portion of their pay.

    EORant
  • -5 Hide
    baconeater , October 18, 2012 10:40 PM
    thank heaven's someone other than apple is taking the rap for this.

    20 of tech's biggest companies use foxconn, but only apple ever gets any press for foxconn's unethical practices.
  • 9 Hide
    timw03878 , October 18, 2012 10:48 PM
    funguseaterUmmm, I started working in warehousing at the age of 14, loading/unloading trailers for Coca-Cola at our city's depot. After school and on weekends work sucked, but I was the one flush with cash on my days off.And not only is noone FORCING these people to work for Foxconn (one of the better paying employers now), recently the chinese government lowered the allowed overtime to 60hrs a week and workers COMPLAINED because now they have lost a significant portion of their pay.EORant


    at least someone here is thinking rationally and not emotionally.

    I applaud you sir for being a lone voice in a wilderness of stupidity.
  • 5 Hide
    funguseater , October 18, 2012 10:54 PM
    How is working at the age of 14 unethical? I would have loved to learn the skills these youths are getting at the age of 14, are they learning soldering techniques, SMT, troubleshooting? Not every family has the luxury of paying for every new thing, if they want to work at 14 why shouldn't they? And who the hell are WE who already allow our 14 year olds to work (in fact recently in Canada we actually paid our under 16yr old workers considerably less than over 16, corrected last year) to comment on this companies hiring practices. No-one seems to care if the guy cooking your french fries is 14.
  • 1 Hide
    mortsmi7 , October 18, 2012 10:56 PM
    None of this would have happened if they had used child-proof locks on the kiddy cages. Now my mobo is gonna be on back-order. Now they'll have to use whips to take away their new found sense of freedom so they won't be so restless.
  • 4 Hide
    garrick , October 19, 2012 3:15 AM
    funguseaterHow is working at the age of 14 unethical? I would have loved to learn the skills these youths are getting at the age of 14, are they learning soldering techniques, SMT, troubleshooting? Not every family has the luxury of paying for every new thing, if they want to work at 14 why shouldn't they? And who the hell are WE who already allow our 14 year olds to work (in fact recently in Canada we actually paid our under 16yr old workers considerably less than over 16, corrected last year) to comment on this companies hiring practices. No-one seems to care if the guy cooking your french fries is 14.
    I highly doubt it's a skill that is that useful. How it works is production lines where you repeat one action over and over like putting one screw in the lower hand corner for example so imagine doing that 12 hours a day and you'd probably die of boredom.
    Letting kids work is not all that horrible in the West but in China there are very low standards when it comes to workers protection so it's quite a different story.


  • 4 Hide
    bin1127 , October 19, 2012 4:01 AM
    dameon51Are 14 year old year old workers on an internship that big of a deal? Here in Saskatchewan Canada 14 year old workers are allowed (although most don't because their parents buy them everything anyways).So foxconn didn't check some id's. Big deal. They generally run a pretty tight ship.


    I definitely agree. A prison encampment setting is pretty tight. It's like a dream vacation if you think about it.
  • -3 Hide
    soundping , October 19, 2012 4:22 AM
    Republicans would love to get rid of all child labor laws.
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/dec/14/mitt-romney/romney-gingrich-wants-scrap-child-labor-laws/
  • 0 Hide
    kensingtron , October 19, 2012 9:47 AM
    Foxconn why are your products so expensive if they are made by 14 year old unpaid interns! Not Cool!
  • 2 Hide
    meatburglar , October 19, 2012 1:47 PM
    Quote:
    Ummm, I started working in warehousing at the age of 14, loading/unloading trailers for Coca-Cola at our city's depot. After school and on weekends work sucked, but I was the one flush with cash on my days off.And not only is noone FORCING these people to work for Foxconn (one of the better paying employers now), recently the chinese government lowered the allowed overtime to 60hrs a week and workers COMPLAINED because now they have lost a significant portion of their pay.EORant



    You're kind of missing the underlying problem here. It should never be the case where overtime hours are a significant part of your paycheck. The goal is not more work, it is more pay. We should be encouraging a living wage for workers before pushing for the availability of overtime hours. If these people (this applies to everyone though) earned more per hour, they would not have to spend so much time at their jobs. This is how the middle class was born in the US - with the advent of people making enough money at their jobs combined with leisure time in which to spend it on the things that the very things they create. Of course this means lower margins for Foxconn and Apple (but again - applies to everyone), but it also means more potential customers.

    I'm with you on the 14 yr old thing though. I was also working at 14, and even though it was putting roofs on houses for my cousin's business (which sucked) it was nice having money. Keep in mind though, as others have noted, that you can't make an equivalence between working in the West as a 14yr old and working in China as a 14yr old. We also can't make assumptions about these kids being forced or not into these jobs. Before the US had child labor laws, 12yr olds weren't forced to work in a coal mine or a steel or textile mill, but the situations in which they lived really didn't give them much choice. So again, we're back to reasonable pay for the adults in their families.
  • 0 Hide
    meatburglar , October 19, 2012 1:49 PM
    Also, while I got mad love for the House of Mario, they have a pretty crap record when it comes to where they source their materials, especially whats now being called 'conflict minerals' in some pretty terrible mines in Africa.

    So I have to take their 'investigation' here with a grain of salt.
  • 1 Hide
    halls , October 19, 2012 1:55 PM
    soundpingRepublicans would love to get rid of all child labor laws.http://www.politifact.com/truth-o- [...] abor-laws/

    Next time you link a Politifact page to prove your point, you should make sure it actually agrees with you.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2012 3:07 PM
    To all those who think letting underage worker is no big deal, it's a damn intern for a line worker now let that sink in for a while, the reason this is a big problem in a marginalized environment there is this tremendous pressure if the child can become a source of income to pull them out of school and have them work all the time, the protections are there to ensure the child gets an adequate education go as not to be unduly disadvantaged and who knows maybe claw their way out of poverty via means of a good education and white collar job that goes with it
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