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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: Apple at fault?
By mcnabney on 6/2/2010 2:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just because Apple subcontracts out the job of assembling their products does not reduce their culpability. These people are dying based upon how the factory is run by a SELECTED , VETTED , and APPROVED vendor (Foxconn). The Foxconn management is just the tool that Apple has used to pad their profit margins. In a similar situation, BP contracted the drilling of their well to Transocean. Is BP responsible for THAT disaster? You bet!


RE: Apple at fault?
By psenechal on 6/2/2010 3:25:06 PM , Rating: 3
Not sure I agree with you on the BP comparison. If a Transocean employee died on the job as a result of the way Transocean managed their working conditions, then I think you would still blame Transocean, not BP. Now when you're talking about the resulting product, that's a different story. If all of a sudden iPads started blowing up and killing people, then you can blame Apple for a faulty product...not FoxConn because they assembled it to Apple's specs.


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