With the holiday season approaching, big-ticket items, such as the forthcoming Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One, are being rapidly assembled in Chinese manufacturing plants. The retail values are $399 and $499 respectively, but the cost shows little of the true price one pays.
Sony has come under scrutiny recently for their partnership with Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturer in the world. At Foxconn’s Yantai plant, students are reportedly being forced to assemble the gaming console, or risk failing their courses.
The students claim they were offered unpaid internships, but were given manual labor instead of tasks related to their field of study. If the students refused, they were threatened with losing six credits.
This is not the first occurrence of unfair labor practices by Foxconn. In January, workers making the Xbox console threatened a mass suicide over staffing assignments. In September of last year, about 2,000 workers rioted over unfair wages and work conditions.
Sony has said in a statement that it “expects its suppliers, including Foxconn, to fully comprehend and comply” with its supplier code of conduct, and they “are in communication with Foxconn and are investigating the matter.”
Microsoft, while not addressing Foxconn directly, has said that their Code of Conduct is enforced by contract, and “If our strict standards are not met, suppliers risk business restrictions or termination of their contract.”
– David Smith