Taiwanese owner Hon Hai has tried everything to curb the suicides at
its Chinese Shenzhen plant -- anger
rooms where employees can beat away their stress, soothing
Buddhist music on the assembly line, counseling from monks, and, most
recently, requiring employees to sign contract letters promising
not to kill themselves (the letter has since been
However, none of those steps seems to have worked yet at stopping the
suicides at the plant which manufactures most of the world's iPhones,
iPods, and iPads.On Saturday the top Communist Party official
of Guangdong, Wang Yang demanded Foxconn clean
up its act, arguing that improved unions could help the
situation. Yang, provincial party secretary, comments, "[The
government and Hon Hai must] work together and take effective
measures to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.
Labor unions in private firms should be improved to facilitate better
working conditions and more harmonious relations between workers and
employers."Thus far 10 employees have taken their lives
at the Shenzhen plant, which houses between 330,000 and 400,000
people. Three others were seriously injured in suicide
attempts. Compared to the average suicide rate in China, this
would seem rather normal. However, workers in factories
typically have a much lower suicide rate than the national average.
And the number of males committing suicides is unusual. Rural
females alone account for half of China's suicides in recent
statistics, while urban females account for a portion of the
remaining suicides.Foxconn reportedly has been making
employees work long overtime, sometimes unpaid. Even as it made
record profits, it also failed to give employees a promised raise in
recent months, as well (entry level employees currently make around
$132 a month). There's even reports of company security
and harassing workers.At this point Foxconn has at least
committed to at last giving its employees their promised raise.
It has not said when it will implement the raise, but says "it
should be very soon." Particular raises are at the
discretion of local management. Company officials explain, "It
would be an average 20% increase, which means some areas will be more
than 20%." Meanwhile a probe into the company
by Apple, HP, Dell, Sony, Nokia, and Nintendo continues.
Between scrutiny from its corporate partners and the Chinese
government, pressure is building for Hon Hai to step in and improve
its working conditions (better pay, shorter hours), even if that
means cutting into its annual profit of NT$75.69B ($2.35B USD).
quote: Oh and quality awards? What was that company who recalled a massive amount of cars recently?