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Has Foxconn installed new anti-suicide nets? The company hasn't announced officially.  (Source: Gizmodo)
Wish you would step back from that ledge my friend./ You could cut ties with all the lies / That you've been living in.

Increasing attention has been paid to the sharp increase in suicides this year at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory which manufactures iPods, iPads, and iPhones. It also fills orders from a broad list of clientele including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.  With at least one employee dying from exhaustion as well, the pressure is on for Foxconn and its Taiwanese owner Hon Hai Precision Industry Ltd. to enact changes.

In the long term Foxconn is considering moving to Vietnam in order to lower labor costs, or replacing employees with robots at an automated facility in Taiwan.  For now, it's using other measures to try to cut the suicide rate in China in the short term.

Among these measures appear to be a set of newly installed safety nets at some of its facilities.  A tipster sent a photo of some of these nets in to 
Gizmodo.  As the site points out, the company has put out no official release about the nets, which span between the kind of residential high rises that employees have previously jumped from.  The nets may serve some other purpose, but its appears they may have at least been in part put up to cushion employees' falls.

Foxconn is also raising its employees wages.  And its brought in a host of experts including Buddhist monks to release the souls of the dead from purgatory and to flood the plant floors with soothing melodies.  It also has created "anger rooms" in which its employees can beat away their rage and frustration.

Most U.S. manufacturers turn a blind eye to these kind of issues in China.  However, after much criticism Apple has taken to conducting yearly working condition studies.  Its latest one showed a variety of problems including overworked, underpaid employees, and the use of child labor

In the wake of these problems Apple and other U.S. firms have shown some signs that they're looking to adopt firmer stances with their suppliers to reduce these kinds of problems.

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Treating the symptom not the problem
By spread on 6/29/2010 9:59:21 AM , Rating: 3
Great. So now the factory is going to look even MORE like a prison.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By Estee on 6/29/2010 10:23:06 AM , Rating: 3
You should actually go onto the facility, like I am now with my company (Foxconn is our CM). It is not remotely prison like, and actually more of a college campus feeling. There's a ton of people all around (300K+ onsite), trucks, etc. just buzzing non stop. Also a ton of little shops, restaurants, and even a movie theatre for everyone. Furthermore, Foxconn has also built apartments which house the employees for free, so while it doesn't compare to Western style standards, it is nonetheless pretty good for China.

Back to the OP, yes they have installed nets on all the buildings to dissuade employees from jumping, but management has taken other steps to identify, mitigate, and hopefully help those at-risk people (remember most of these are just kids coming from the countryside all alone). I've talked to them extensively this past week (while I'm there) and its priority #1 in the company now (even for a notoriously cheap and strict CEO).

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By redbone75 on 6/29/2010 11:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
It's nothing about the way the company "looks." After all, you are just visiting. How about working there in the manner that the workers do? As far as the "at-risk people" I'm pretty sure most normal people will quickly become at-risk if they worked under the conditions reported from that company. It's not about helping at-risk people, it's about preventing circumstances which are detrimental to good mental health.

By Estee on 6/30/2010 2:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, I am "just visiting" for 3 weeks now and about 2 month out of ever year. And during my "visits" i work with them day in and day out, going to breakfast, lunch, and even sometimes dinner, as well as other events. I also won't even mention that I have to interface with them on an ongoing basis for the rest of the year and consider many of them as not just mere colleagues / acquaintances, but friends as well. But hell, what do i know about them compared to you or the general media which like to sensationalize news.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By EricMartello on 6/29/2010 12:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
If I had to go to a "college like" setting every day I'd probably consider playing superman for a few seconds too. What kind of douchebag would want to spend the rest of their life in a college-like setting? It's like the 45 year old who still lives with his parents.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By Hare on 6/29/2010 1:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately not everyone can live the quality of life so many of us take for granted. What I'm saying is that a "douchebag" Foxconn employee may actually be lucky compared to many others in China. It may look like a prison/campus to us but for some chinese it's a chance for a better life. Many of the "douchebags" actually do it to support their families in rural China.

What next? You think Ethiopians are douchebags for not eating enough?

By Estee on 6/30/2010 2:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
Very well said....China is rampant with prostitution and indenture "slaves", especially for those from the country side. Would you rather go to those types of "jobs" or server at a factory that tries to look out for its employees. While it may never approach what Westerners consider "decent", it is pretty good for most Chinese.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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