updated 02:22 pm EST, Fri February 8, 2013
New guidelines require workers be voluntary, limit student assemblers
Addressing its own issues with the Chinese labor force used to manufacture its devices, Hewlett Packard today issued new standards and practices for assembly companies. HP has declared that all workers must be voluntary, free to choose not to work, or quit if displeased. Furthermore, if students are selected for work, the work must be relevant to their studies. Limits on the quantity of student workers has been addressed as well.
In times of high demand, it has been a frequent practice for Chinese companies to employ students in local schools, sometimes underage, to work in factories. Schools are often ordered to send students to work by local governments. The moves by HP come a few months after Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, admitted it has hired interns and workers as young as 14 years old. HP, Apple, Samsung, and Toshiba rely on Hon Hai Precision Industry to make products, including the iPhone and Galaxy S III handset.
HP says manufacturers were told of the new guidelines today, and compliance begins immediately. It has also laid out guidelines for frequent and in-depth audits of practices and records of the workforce.