Some Chinese vocational college students found themselves interning at a post company the day after the busy Singles’ Day event on November 11. Their major? Highway transportation management.
As part of their training, 240 second-year students from the Shaanxi Transportation Vocational College where tasked to sort packages for 10 hours a day over the course of two busy weeks, according to CCTV (via South China Morning Post).
For the students, completing the internships meant granting them the needed credits to graduate.
“All we did was to throw packages around and sort them out,” a student said. “We started every day at 7:30 in the morning, had a lunch break at noon, and resumed work at 1:20 p.m. until we finished at 6:30 p.m.”
The interns were reportedly paid only a daily wage of 10 yuan ($1.45) for a full-day’s work. The company’s own casual laborers, on the other hand, were paid 14 yuan ($2) per hour.
State regulations prescribe that vocational college students’ internship management student interns are to be paid at least 80% of the standard wage of a worker under probation.
While the pay is a concern, the students complained more about their job not having anything to do with their major. Many point out that the internship may have been arranged only because the company was understaffed after the massive Singles’ Day sales.
“The company would have had to spend a lot of money if they hired casual laborers, so I guess we become an alternative of cheap labor for them,” the student said.
A school official claimed that the internship the students took at the company was indeed part of the “teaching plan.”