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Researching Forced Labour in the Global EconomyMethodological Challenges and Advances$
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Genevieve LeBaron

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266472

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266472.001.0001

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Researching Unfree Student Labour in Apple’s Supply Chain

Researching Unfree Student Labour in Apple’s Supply Chain

Chapter:
(p.130) 8 Researching Unfree Student Labour in Apple’s Supply Chain
Source:
Researching Forced Labour in the Global Economy
Author(s):

Jenny Chan

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266472.003.0008

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer of Apple, used the labour of 150,000 student interns – 15 per cent of its entire million-strong workforce in China – during the summer of 2010. This Chapter looks into the quasi-employment arrangements of student interns, who occupy an ambiguous space between being a student and a worker in Apple’s global supply chain. The incorporation of vocational school teachers into corporate management can strengthen control over students, who are in effect unfree labourers during their internships, which could last from three months to a year. While male and female student interns are required to do the same work as other employees, their intern labour is devalued. With the loss of their capacity to control the timing, location and training content of the internships, student-workers vent their pent-up anger and grievances in the capital accumulation process, in which their fundamental rights to labour and education are scarified.

Keywords:   student internship, unfree labour, student worker regime, global supply chain, the State, vocational schools, labour agencies, China, Apple, Foxconn Technology Group

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