Another Foxconn Worker Commits Suicide, Video of Employee Beating Leaks
May 23, 2010 9:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
This weekend a video showing Foxconn guards roughing up an employee also leaked, raising questions over whether Apple's demand for secrecy is leading to employee abuse.
Is the real story here the suicides themselves, or the abusive working conditions revealed by the investigation?
Last week we reported on a
conducted by the Chinese newspaper
which revealed harsh working conditions at a Foxconn plant that assembles iPods, iPads, and more. The poor working conditions were brought into sharp focus after a string of suicides at the plant, including one questionable death of an employee that lost an iPhone prototype.
On Friday another employee
took their life
, raising the death toll to 8 this year. And along with the report came a recently
of security guards at the company's Beijing facility allegedly beating up an employee.
Many questions surround the suicides and their potential connection to employee abuse. Among the most common questions is whether the Foxconn suicide toll is abnormal.
Many observers have noted that China has a high suicide rate. This is certainly true. China's suicide rates have been slowly falling for the last several years, but they're still among the world's highest. In 2007 the rate was at 286,000 suicides a year. That's about 21.4 people per 100,000 people. According to the latest World Health Organization figures, this rate has dropped to around 13.9 suicides per 100,000 people.
Given that figure, it would be easy to assume that Foxconn's Apple plant would typically have a suicide rate of about 46 people a year, given that it officially employs over 330,000 people (some reports have put the true figure at closer to 400,000 people).
However Foxconn's own statistics raise more questions regarding the situation. Foxconn reported only 3 suicide deaths at the plant in 2009 (in line with the premise that a well employed work force has a lower suicide rate). There have been no widespread reports of suicides at Foxconn motherboard plants this year.
The rash of recent suicides comes as employees have been being pressured to work long hours to fulfill demand for Apple's popular iPhones and iPads. Also there's the recent video and fresh reports of security staff antagonizing employees in wake of Apple's
demand for unparalleled secrecy
at the plant. One of the three suicides that occurred at the plant last year came after security staff
beat an employee
who lost a prototype of the fourth generation iPhone. Foxconn guards have also beat up reporters trying to interview workers at Apple's secret plant.
recent internal audit
complained that many of its suppliers were engaging in abusive working practices, including forcing employees to work unpaid overtime, and using child labor. It did not tell which suppliers were found in violation.
It is important to consider that Apple is certainly not the only company whose products are manufactured by Chinese employees reportedly working in poor conditions. Intel, Nintendo, Sony, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and Amazon are among Foxconn's other customers. Nonetheless, the pressure in terms of secrecy at these facilities (and corresponding employee abuse) may not be quite as high.
At the end of the day, the question now becomes how to receive these numbers. Are they acceptable given that they still seem better than China's population as a whole? Or are they unacceptable given the reportedly hellish working conditions at the plant, that may be directly causing the suicides? And regardless of that debate, should the true story here perhaps be that the workplace conditions at Apple's manufacturing partners border on abuse?
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Why can't we do anything about this?
5/24/2010 4:11:27 AM
I doubt that making sure Foxconn doesn't beat its employees would cause an increase in our computer prices. Also, if Foxconn won't comply, we still have Asus and others to take its place.
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
Report: Only Escape From Hellish Apple iPhone Factory Was Suicide
May 19, 2010, 3:25 PM
Apple Reveals Child Labor was Used to Build iPods, iPhones, and Macs
March 3, 2010, 8:55 AM
Apple's Supplier Beats Reporter For Breaking Veil of Secrecy
February 18, 2010, 12:09 PM
Update: Chinese Worker Commits Suicide After iPhone Prototype Disappears
July 21, 2009, 2:39 PM
Retiree Sues Apple For $7,500 for Wiping Honeymoon Photos From His iPhone
November 30, 2015, 10:23 AM
iPhone 7 May Pack 3-4 GB Memory, More Storage; 4-Inch Comeback is Rumored
November 20, 2015, 10:12 PM
OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 Will Receive Android Marshmallow in Q1 2016
November 16, 2015, 9:58 AM
Lenovo Whoa: Motorola Droid MAXX 2 and Turbo 2 Break Cover in Leaks
October 26, 2015, 3:12 PM
Leak: Apple Preps for First Real Android App Foray With New Apple Music App
October 24, 2015, 1:59 PM
Pepsi Smartphone? Empty Calories Coming Soon to the Midrange
October 12, 2015, 11:41 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information