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According to Chinese reports, a man recently was worked to death at an Apple plant. Foxconn, the manufacturer, is reportedly denying the man's family full benefits, as the death was not a suicide.  (Source: Ming Pao)
Foxconn refuses to pay family of employee who died of exhaustion after 34-hour shift as it wasn't suicide

The Shenzhen factory-city in southern China that primarily serves as a manufacturing site for Apple's iPads, iPhones, and iPods has claimed another life, only this time it wasn't a suicide. The man was a 28-year old plant engineer who reportedly died of exhaustion after being forced to work 34 hours nonstop.

Foxconn reportedly has been making employees work increasingly long hours to satisfy the growing demand for the iPad, including unpaid overtime.  It also has reportedly been bullying employees at the Shenzhen Apple plant and elsewhere.

The company is currently refusing to pay the family of the man, Yan Li, full benefits typically given for workers that commit suicide.  Instead, despite having apparently worked him to death, the company plans to only give the family a smaller "humanitarian terms" payout.

The man died shortly after suffering from shortness of breath.  After the 34 hour workday, he had rested for 10 hours, then had returned to work and had worked for 12 hours before becoming ill and dying.

Foxconn manufactures motherboards and other electronics for a variety of companies including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.  However the Shenzhen factory serves primarily as a manufacturing facility for Apple products big and small.  It has all been the site of all the deaths thus far this year.

Since the start of the year, 11 Shenzhen workers have committed suicide, while several more have made unsuccessful attempts.  The string of suicides have brought to light the poor working conditions that the employees toil under daily.

Hon Hai Precision Industry owns the Foxconn unit that operates the plant.  The company has tried many approaches to stop the suicides -- Buddhist monks, "anger rooms", even contracts asking employees to promise not to kill themselves.  However, the death toll has continued to rise.

Foxconn's latest bid to halt the death toll is to give employees a long promised raise.  The company just instituted a 30 percent pay bump at the Shenzhen facility, bringing workers' average starting wage from $132 USD a month to $172 USD per month, enough to buy one of the iPad Nanos they manufacture (after a month's work).

The raise is rumored to be subsidized by Apple.  Apple reportedly is taking a 0.7 percent loss on the iPad's cost to pay for the raise -- or rough $3.50 per iPad sold.  This means that Apple's profit per unit sold will like drop from around $200 to around $196 per Wi-Fi iPad sold.

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RE: Heartless Bastards
By MrBlastman on 6/2/2010 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 3
This makes me sick to my stomach. Even though Apple shouldn't be contracting with Foxconn, they are, so, in essence, until they switch manufacturers, they share part of the guilt--by association.

Anyone who buys an Apple product, they have blood on their hands. If it keeps up, it may eventually be as bad as buying a Diamond from Africa.

Labor laws are needed in China, badly. I don't see them happening anytime though, as their corrupt communist regime could care little about its people. In Communism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the country. If part of country dies, new person is born to replace them.

They're just a number there. Nothing more. A bee in a hive. The Government could care less until the press gets so bad it hurts their image. Then they execute some managers as retribution, cane some supervisors and ship some others off to secret prisons.

Great place to live China is.

The sick thing is, there IS something we can do about it. We can take pride in our country and request goods to be made here. Yes, they might cost more--a LOT more in some cases, but, it would put jobs into our economy and perhaps build some pride back into the homes of our nation... pride in our nation and work ethic. I'd gladly pay a bit more to know my dime isn't going to support practices such as these we read about overseas.

RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/2/2010 4:15:18 PM , Rating: 5
In Communism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the country. If part of country dies, new person is born to replace them.

In Capitalism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the company. If part of company dies, new person is hired to replace them.

RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heartless Bastards
By someguy123 on 6/3/2010 1:18:07 AM , Rating: 1
A capitalist society is only based on the individual when it's first created.

People at the top will always have all the options. People at the bottom do not.

RE: Heartless Bastards
By Steve1981 on 6/3/2010 10:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
A capitalist society is only based on the individual when it's first created.

In theory a capitalist free market society is always based on individual choice. The problem is that there has never been, nor could there ever be a pure free market society because men simply are not pure. A free market assumes that men are educated and always make logical decisions. A free market assumes that men don't lie, cheat, and steal. Those assumptions simply fail in the real world.

People at the top will always have all the options. People at the bottom do not.

You think this is somehow a problem exclusive to capitalism?

Regardless, while those who start out at the bottom have fewer options to begin with, in any free society a path will exist to the top. It may not be an easy path, but those with the fortitude and perseverance can and do make it. Look at Oprah!

RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 1
Since you called Stephen Hawking an idiot too, I will take that as a complement.

You need to get your head out of your ass and realize that pure Capitalism and pure Socialism are both bad.

RE: Heartless Bastards
By Omega215D on 6/3/2010 9:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
You have a problem with authority, Mr Anderson. You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously you are mistaken. This company is one of the top software companies in the world because employees understand they are part of a whole. Thus if an employee has a problem, the company has a problem.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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