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Foxconn Worker Jumps To His Death in Chengdu

Foxconn Worker Jumps To His Death in Chengdu

A 23-year-old Foxconn worker, surnamed Xie, jumped to his death from an apartment building outside the factory on Wednesday. Reuters reports that his death is the first suicide since the company, which is the main supplier of Apple and makes products including the iPad and the iPhone, agreed to improve work conditions in March. Chengdu police are now investigating the incident.

Just last week, 1,000 workers at the Chengdu plant rioted in a dormitory for over two hours. The Taiwan-based company, which is one of China’s largest employers, has faced numerous allegations of workplace abuse since 2010, after about 13 workers died in apparent suicides. Three workers were  killed and eighteen injured in an explosion at the Chengdu plant in May of 2011.  Earlier this year, 300 people at a plant that makes Xbox consoles threatened to kill themselves over a pay dispute.

Foxconn has denied the accusations against it, while raising workers’ salaries. These increased by 70 percent at its China plants in 2010; in February of this year, Foxconn increased workers’ wages by 25 percent. In March, following an independent review by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) that found violations in wages and overtime at three Foxconn plants, the company agreed to hire tens of thousands more workers, in addition to the 1.2 million it already employs.

The company is also seeking to use a million robots, as noted in Chinese Business News (via Agence France-Presse). Currently, about 10,000 robots paint, weld and perform assembly tasks. Foxconn plants to use 300,000 robots by next year and then the full one million in 2014.

Some of the abuses endured by Foxconn workers include working an excessive amount of hours of overtime (60 hours a week in some cases); new regulations say that people cannot work more than 49 hours by July 1, 2013. Robots, of course, can work round the cock and as much and as long as their human operators wish. No surprise that Foxconn is seeking to employ more of the machines, now that it is being required not to treat its human workers as such.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

1,000 Foxconn Workers Riot in Chengdu

Why iPads Won’t Be “Made In America” Any Time Soon

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15 comments

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12:52AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

but we idolize steve jobs ?!?!?!?

12:44AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

@Gary A. Maybe I've picked it up wrongly, but the US is an entire country whereas FoxConn is one company - so I fail to see the relevance of the comparison between the suicide rates.

8:44AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

Can we out this sad occurrence in perspective? Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the richest nation on earth(Duh. The USA). Every 16 minutes an American kills themselves.

The fact that FoxCons employee suicide rate is a fraction of the US rate implies that FoxCon is doing a great deal right. Obviously, their employees are not as depressed as are we...

http://www.valueoptions.com/suicide_prev/html%20pages/Costs.htm

1:53AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

Oh, yes, Tennesee Ernie Ford has everything to do with this topic/article. It's an old song, indicative of conditions in this country almost a century ago. Nobody is forced to work excessive hours at risk of torture, either here or in China, I don't think. The workers who do are doing so because that's the only paying jobs that are available and they are very competitive to get those jobs. Have you seen the documentaries on TV about the number of applicants? There are thousands standing in line to apply for every job available.

I tell ya' what, John Z., since you obviously feel empathy for this abuse, then why don't you do your part by not using your computer? Want to guess how much of it was manufactured in either China or Japan? Do you have a cell phone? Even if you don't, your landline's phone probably has components made in China or Japan. Give all that up and THEN lecture me about not feeling sorry for some 23-yr-old who jumped for whatever reason. BTW, I do have a cell phone......a flip phone from T-Mobile that makes basic phone calls.......that's it.

6:51AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

@Diane L, nice show of empathy. The purpose of the article is to make us feel guilty? Really? Here's my take on the article: This is the Republican dream of work environment! Have people work 60 hours a week at substandard wages. Better yet, make them live in substandard housing and make them pay room and board. Makes me think of the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song, "Sixteen Tons." Sing along with me Diane! "You load sixteen tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store!" Waiting to hear your "silly comment" in reply!

6:27AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

what kind of world do we live in that this happens? Over an electronic device that someone can buy and make a company rich? I say put you devices down? you and I don't really need this stuff its an addiction of sorts. Get off the dang phone, and Ipads etc etc etc. Geesh isn't this a no brainier people?

5:41AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

When I was young we were required to work 103 hours a week and often had to do unpaid overtime to make sure that all the work was finished. We were paid as much as a first year fitter and turner was paid for a forty hour week, except that if they worked extra time, they would be paid for that. All that was because we w ere privileged young doctors and we had to take into account the great value of the training that we received in our first years at work.
It's not the hours worked, but the spin on those hours that matters. There's probably a lot that can be done to improve the conditions of those workers. Replacing workers with robots does not improve their conditions.

5:17AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Why is it the consumer's fault or greed to blame? So we don't buy any electronics made in China. The result would be that we wouldn't be buying any electronics, period, and guess what, folks? You wouldn't have the internet or Care.2 blogs to make silly comments on, either. We aren't responsbile for 23-yr-olds jumping from balconies. Not sure what is, but why are we being thrown this "guilt trip"?

2:30AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Luvenia, it is not the consumers fault! Our government lets this work force migration to foreign countries happen which makes the entire lot of them responsible for our countries demise. I doubt everything on an American citizens home is made here in the U.S.A. Just saying... Only in America!!!

11:28AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

So very sad...Greed is never a good thing !
Bet they didn't even blink after the terrible tragedy...Human life is not sacred to them only power and greed !!!!!

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