Unpaid Students Were Forced To Manufacture PS4s
University is difficulty. Seriously, if you’re still in school, enjoy every single day, because I promise you it doesn’t get easier when you finish. And if you’re already working, you’re probably telling me to do the same. Well, as hard as university is, it’s nowhere near as bad as what this report from China is suggesting.
Queue the entrance of the infamous Foxconn plant, which is the epicentre of controversy when it comes to human rights and labour infringements. The company has been tasked with manufacturing Sony’s upcoming next-gen console, the PlayStation 4, but a report from Chinese website China.com suggests that university students were forced to manufacture the console, or forfeit their degree.
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According to the report, “thousands” of students from Xi’an Technological University worked at Foxconn’s plant in the coastal Chinese city of Yantai as part of a work-study program for their degree. Nothing out of the ordinary, especially if you’re part of an Engineering faculty, but it’s gets a bit scarier. Firstly, the work was mandatory, and any student that did not complete the program automatically forfeited their diploma and was denied access into their fourth year of study. Not only that, but students were tasked with menial activities, such as peeling of protective film and placing warning stickers, which didn’t relate to their degree in any way.
Student Wang Yiran spoke to China.com about working on the production line like a normal, manual labourer. Yiran complained about having swollen feet from standing the entire day, as well as feeling like a robot on the production line. Not only that, but students were apparently forced to work 11 hour days, and sometimes more for overtime, with only a 30-minute lunch break.
Another student, Li Xinzhou agreed with Yiran’s statements, saying that he was forced to place manuals and cables into boxes as well as move and carry them. According to him, some of the other students fainted while working.
Now think for a minute about how bad this sounds, even if all the students were actual employees. This, of course, is not the first time Foxconn has been making headlines for this exact reason, with the factory accused of using students to manufacture Wii U consoles a few months ago. Additionally, Foxconn has regularly been accused of over-working employees. And Sony aren’t the only big manufacturers consistently hiring the company for product manufacture. Apple and Nintendo, as well as others, are some of their main customers.
How this consistent keeps happening is truly worrying. What will it take for massive corporations to move manufacturers and force Foxconn to stop exploiting employees and essentially free students? Of course this is still up in the air as speculation, but considering the track record I can almost say for certain that this has in fact been happening.
And the sad part is that PS4’s will still sell, as well as iPhones and Wii consoles. Anyone else up for a boycott?