HP directs suppliers in China to limit student labour
Many factories in China have long relied on high school students, vocational school students and temporary workers to cope with periodic surges in orders as factory labour becomes increasingly scarce. Students complain of being ordered by school administrators to put in very long hours on short notice at jobs with no relevance to their studies; local governments sometimes order schools to provide labour, and the factories pay school administrators a bonus.
For much of the last decade, many of the world’s big electronics companies have largely neglected the problem, beyond in some cases tracking reports of the abuses. Apple made the unusual move last year of joining the Fair Labor Association, one of the largest workplace monitoring groups, which inspects factories in China that make computers, iPhones and other devices under contract from Apple. And last month, Apple said it would begin requiring suppliers to provide information about their student workers “so we can monitor this issue more carefully.”
Now HP is pushing even harder. Its rules, given to suppliers in China on Friday morning, say that all work must be voluntary, and that students and temporary workers must be free “to leave work at any time
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