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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 JasonMick (blog) on 6/2/2010 2:19:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't think it's Apple's fault for the increase in demand. If people want the iPad then Apple would be stupid not to step up production.


Even if it's at the cost of human life? It sounds to me, based on the reports that I've read that Apple has pushed workers to the brink and now they're finally snapping under long hours and low pay, be it suicide attempts, or dying from exhaustion, as in this case.

quote:
The problem is Apple shouldn't be contracting from Foxconn in the first place. Seriously, the number of accidental deaths is zero. This place is screwed up and no one should be using their services. I blame everyone who's a client of Foxconn.


If Foxconn as a whole is screwed up, then why were all the suicides/accidents/deaths at the plant that is almost exclusively used for Apple manufacturing? I understand correlation does not imply causation, but it seems that given the reports of employees being overworked to fulfill the iPhone/iPad demand, it seems pretty clear that we have causation...

Apple itself in its internal probe recently admitted that "some" of its suppliers were guilty of of overworking employees. Before you cry foul, consider that and take note, this isn't happening at other plants.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By amanojaku on 6/2/2010 3:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
Are you arguing that if Apple lowers its iPad orders back down to earlier, "reasonable" levels that the problems at Foxconn will just go away? That's putting a band aid on the wound, and the band aid will likely fall off in a day or two. What's needed is a full-scale boycott of Foxconn, not a token reduction in orders. Apple, and others, should take their business elsewhere, while maintaining supply for the obvious demand.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Obujuwami on 6/2/2010 4:15:56 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that's logical....move from one extreme to another. How about if the boycott doesn't (and won't) work we send in a crack commando team to blow up the plant? I think I can find the A-Team if they are available!

Deaths happen, its an unfortunate fact of life and business. I'm not gonna sit here and defend Foxconn, but I will say that many of the companies in China treat their factory employees this way and I will bet you that this plant gets all the attention because of Apple. What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.

Other than that, there really is nothing we can do but not buy apple products. Though I hear they really are going to release the Macbook wheel!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By JediJeb on 6/2/2010 5:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.


You really do want more workers to die. I'm sure the Chinese government would not do a thing to keep the workers from making a union there, remember where we are talking about. In the US you fight to bring in a Union, then once in place threaten to kill off the company until they give in to your demands all while the US government backs you up. (Of course then the company moves all its production to China to get rid of the union.) In China they just shoot or imprison the workers trying to form the union and more come and take their place.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Krotchrot on 6/2/2010 5:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the government suggested that a union would help. Communist countries support unions. That's one reason a lot of people in the U.S. think unions are a communist idea. At least they used to.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By tmouse on 6/3/2010 7:45:37 AM , Rating: 2
You should understand that unions are not the same in all countries. In many places the unions work VERY closely with the company and function more like company cheerleaders and spies than activists for their members.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 11:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the US you fight to bring in a Union, then once in place threaten to kill off the company until they give in to your demands all while the US government backs you up.


Like the government backed coal miners who were forming a union by killing them?


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/2010 5:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Other than that, there really is nothing we can do but not buy apple products.


We could clone Ronald Regan! That way we would have someone who actually knew how to deal with Communists and bring them to the negotiating table, and ultimately bring them to their knees.

quote:
I'm not gonna sit here and defend Foxconn, but I will say that many of the companies in China treat their factory employees this way


Lol is that your idea of a silver lining? I don't know about you, but I don't get a fuzzy feeling knowing Foxconn is just the tip of the iceberg.

quote:
What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.


Ummm, you really don't get it, do you? You can't unionize when your system of Government denies you basic human rights.

Look at it this way, what if this happened in America or another civilized nation? There would be investigations, public outcries, law enforcement action, indictments, federal junctions, etc etc. At the very least, you would almost certainly be heavily fined and probably shut down. Why is none of this happening in China? Because your basic human rights are of NO concern to the Government, in fact, you HAVE no basic human rights.

Knowing all that, you expect these employees to somehow have the power, and protection needed, to form a Union and "demand" better working conditions?? HOW!? Because we actively "support" that? What a bunch of fluffy feel-good nonsense. The people stepping on the throats of these workers could give a goddamn about your support!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 11:01:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think I can find the A-Team if they are available!


The A-Team have a new movie coming out they might be too busy.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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