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Foxconn may replace workers at its plants with robots. The plants which have been dubbed as "hellish" by the Chinese media, also are cutting their sucide payouts. They already don't pay for workers who die of exhaustion.  (Source: Telegraph UK)

Foxconn is blame news orginizations' reporting of the deaths for provoking more suicides, dismissing that poor working conditions are to blame.  (Source: Southern Weekly)
Company also blames news networks for the suicides

Foxconn seemed to be turning the corner in working conditions and corporate policy.  It had raised employees' base wages and instituted additional performance based increases, as well.  It even had retracted its contract letters to employees demanding they didn't kill themselves.  Now the manufacturer -- which services Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and a host of other companies -- is turning to some controversial new changes.

First of all, at its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Terry Gou, CEO of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry (owners of the Chinese Foxconn unit) blamed news agencies and company payouts for the rash of suicides.  He first read a letter from one of the employees who killed himself, which stated: I'm going to jump off Foxconn, really leaving now, but you don't have to be sad, because Foxconn will pay a bit of money, this is all your son can repay you now.
He also stated that 6 of the 12 suicides, which occurred in May after the story received international attention, may have triggered a "Werther Effect" -- people reading about the story and deciding to kill themselves.  As a result, Gou is handing control over "welfare management work" to the Chinese local government, which may chose to block internet coverage for the events.

He also announced that Foxconn will no longer pay the families of employees who kill themselves.  Recently a worker died, apparently from exhaustion from working long hours and Foxconn refused to pay his family, as well.  The new policy, though, ends suicide payouts that could total as much as 10 years worth of salary.

Foxconn has also started to flee China, where it currently employs over 800,000 people.  In the shareholders meeting it said that the rise in wages from ¥900 ($132) to ¥1,200 ($176), and for top performers up to ¥2,000 ($293), is compelling it to move to countries with cheaper labor or seek alternative options. 

It says that it may replace employees with robots, building a fully automated assembly line in Taiwan.  This suggestion is somewhat ironic, given recent Foxconn factory workers' complaints that they felt like "robots" when performing their duties. 

Chairman Samuel Chen says that the company may also shift employees and orders to its Vietnam plant, where labor is cheaper.  Chen says that Foxconn is working with the companies that contract it to make these moves as smooth as possible.

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RE: Just low....
By The0ne on 6/9/2010 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 4
Note quite that brash in my response. But you're making it way way way too simple in that the worker simply has to make a choice, which you are correct.

However, you know as well as most people here, that to make a choice in a communist country means certain risks/consequences. I still can't imagine personally how one can judge poor working conditions in the rice field to poor working conditions in a factory. Both are bad and equally devastating to one's life.

So therefore, what's left for the worker? To move to another company that carries the same ethics? To rally and protest? This is bad btw. So then what choice does one really have in a country like China and to what extent? At the end of the day it's about what you can live with and NOT get shipped off to some "training" camp. Is this the same in US? No, it is not. Thus the argument of "choice" when view from so called Western perspectives is really subjective.

My family immigrated to US when I was only 3-4 years old. We've gone through wars, communists countries, poor working conditions, etc. Choice is always there but NEVER easy. Indeed the western worlds have it much too easy when speaking about others, all due to inexperience.

Or to put it simply, it's easier said than done.

RE: Just low....
By crleap on 6/9/2010 2:22:53 PM , Rating: 4
I agree with you, and respect the experience that your opinion is forming from. I just posted a reply to another poster that addresses a few of the points you brought up. Rather than repost all that here, I'll just sum it up and leave it to you to read the other post if you wish:

Chinese problems, Chinese workers, Chinese responsibility to stand up against it first.

As long as we continue the human practice of drawing lines in the sand and calling ourselves "sovereign" over our sandboxes, it will be the responsibility of people living inside that sandbox to initiate the change. If they can convince others to help, so be it, but they MUST be the first to stand up. Until then, we are barking for and assuming costs upon ourselves for an assumption that they want help, and a gamble that the change will stick once we are "done".

RE: Just low....
By The0ne on 6/9/2010 2:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you mean Marty, he's just venting :D

If you mean the original poster, he's in a state where he clearly needs to make a "choice." I hope he chooses NOT to support products he knows are coming from questionable conditions; and there are many of them hahaha

I understand you want the people to stand up first, but you have to understand it is not that easy. It was never easy in US history and won't be for China and others. But we are at a different stage in human history where some nations, like US, has the influence and capability to "prevent" what could be come bloody conclusions. Nations like China and especially North Korea are more or less totalitarian in their rule. Hence, why we continue to read and hear the limitations of ones right.

In some sense, China is even worse because they allow just enough freedom so that its citizens are not discontent enough to rally up. You sentence a few to serve as examples to instill enough fear without breaking the entire business down. This, obviously, covers a wide range of issues from hacking, bribery, corruption, etc.

So while you and others stand here and voice your opinion that these people must choose and make a change, their take is irreversibly different than yours. Is a choice really a choice when it's confined within limitations to begin with? How can freedom and free will be so when they can only be allowed under strict conditions with deadly consequences?

Again, history should have taught us many things that we shouldn't be avoiding. While I don't want get off topic, a fine example would be when US waited til millions and millions of lives were lost before engaging in the war. That is not something we should be doing in this day and age when we do know better. Hate Bill Gates all you want but what they are doing with their nonprofit organization is a great thing. It's something we know we can prevent.

Anyhow, this is getting to be too large of a subject to talk about. Sigh. Yes, it is their choice. Yes I do agree they need to rally up. How that is going to be done I absolutely have no clue.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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