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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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Why do they still work there?
By afkrotch on 6/2/2010 7:07:25 PM , Rating: 1
If it's such horrid conditions, why are these ppl not just leaving? You work me for 30+ hours in a row and give me crap living conditions, expect my ass to walk out the door. If I can't do that, expect my ass to just start killing ppl.

RE: Why do they still work there?
By t3chb0y on 6/2/2010 8:27:54 PM , Rating: 3
Realize that it's the factory or back to the farm where salary is typically much much lower.

Culturally, these people think more about how much better their families will be with the salary they're making even though they may go through immense turmoil for it.

The choices that people have over there just aren't as good as the ones you may be accustomed to.

RE: Why do they still work there?
By jimhsu on 6/3/2010 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 3
Perspective. Because working at Foxconn with its air-conditioned dorms and all is a sinecure compared to farm work back in your rural town, or more commonly, no work at all. Also realize that many employees voluntarily look for companies that offer overtime -- the proportion of employees forced to do overtime is much lower than those that voluntarily took overtime then realized that they couldn't handle it. Not justifying their actions, but when you have thousands of employees lined up outside your door wanting to "work overtime for more $$$", that isn't exactly conducive to mass corporate reform.

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