Foxconn, Maker of Apple, Dell Products, Sees 12th Suicide Attempt

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2010-05-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hours after Foxconn's president led journalists on a tour of the manufacturer's facilities in a public relations gesture following the May 21 suicide of a young worker, another young man allegedly jumped to his death, the 12th suicide attempt at the site this year.

Another worker at a Chinese plant run by electronics manufacturer Foxconn, which makes a host of products for such vendors as Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia, reporteldy has committed suicide, the BBC reported May 27.
 
If confirmed, the young man would be the 12th employee in 2010 to attempt suicide at the Foxconn facility, in the Shenzhen province of China, by jumping from a high dormitory window.
 
News of the death came just hours after Foxconn founder and President Terry Gou led journalists on a tour of the facility, in a gesture to prove that working conditions at the factory are satisfactory - and not sweatshop-like - following the May 21 death of another young man.
 
The May 21 death also prompted Apple, Dell and Nokia, which along with HP have products manufactured at the Foxconn facility, to release statements saying they are looking into the conditions faced by workers.
 
Media reports have pointed to workers facing 10- or 12-hour days on assembly lines performing repetitive tasks. Workers also reportedly supplement their minimum wage, workers often accept overtime and will go for weeks without a day off. According to the BBC, workers must also remain silent on the assembly lines, going entire an entire work day without conversation.
 
However, Reuters journalist Kelvin Soh told the BBC that, compared to other manufacturing plants in China, working at Foxconn is preferable, and Foxconn reports receiving approximately 8,000 new applications a day. The enormous campus is said to be a city in itself, including shopping malls, bakeries, movie theaters and more, and creating little need for worker to ever leave its walls.
 
According to Soh, workers he spoke with complained about things such as working long days, and working long hours, "but besides that, many people are happy working at Foxconn," he told Reuters.  "Many of them actually told us that working at Foxconn is a lot better than working at some of these mainland Chinese factories."
 
Soh continued, "Because when you work at Foxconn, the company actually pays for your accommodations, the company actually comes around and gives you food, and they have all of these fantastic facilities that are open to all staff." Soh cited seeing an Olympic-sized swimming pool on the campus, as well as badminton courts and ping pong tables.  
 
Foxconn has said it's working to address the problems leading to the deaths - while also noting that it may be a larger, societal issue and not one specific to the company - and that it plans to attach safety nets to worker dormitories to prevent more workers from jumping.

 


 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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