Posts Tagged ‘Apple iPads’

Chinese workers asked for no-suicide pledge

May 11, 2011

Foxconn, headquartered in Taiwan, is reported by Wikipedia to be the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic components, and the largest private employer in China.  It employs an estimated 1 million Chinese workers, including 300,000 to 450,000 at its walled factory complex in Shenzen province.  It is a subcontractor for Apple, Amazon, Intel, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft, Japan’s Nintendo and Sony, Korea’s Samsung and Finland’s Nokia.

Recently Foxconn has had so many suicides by stressed-out  Chinese employees that it requires new hires to sign a no-suicide pledge.  As England’s Daily Mail reported:

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier’s plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.

And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.

They claimed that:

# Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month … .

# During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.

# Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.

# Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts. … …

Foxconn admits that it breaks overtime laws, but claims all the overtime is voluntary.

Some officials within the company even accused workers of committing suicide to secure large compensation payments for their families.

Anti-suicide nets were put up around the dormitory buildings on the advice of psychologists.

via  Mail Online.

I suppose that, from the standpoint of management, things could be worse.  The Chinese workers could be attempting to form labor unions.