AfterDawn: Tech news

Foxconn factory workers to get raise after tenth worker suicide

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 29 May 2010 1:46 User comments (17)

Foxconn factory workers to get raise after tenth worker suicide Hon Hai Precision Industry of Taiwan, the owners of manufacturer Foxconn, say they plan to raise worker's salaries by 20 percent amidst a flood of worker suicides at their Chinese factory.
Foxconn is the maker of the Apple iPhone.

Ten employees of the manufacturer have died via suicide this year, with the latest happening this week, and public anger at the company is rising. On Thursday, an 11th employee tried to kill himself, slitting his wrists. He was revived by a medical team.

Edmund Ding of Hon Hai said the salary increase had been planned for months.

One of the factory's employees, surnamed Wang, said the increase should help with current spate of deaths: "It may help the suicide situation, because we workers just need money and the financial pressure on us is great. Every little bit helps."

Line workers at the factory make about 900 yuan ($131.80 USD) per month, and the company was allegedly giving 100,000 yuan to compensate families of suicide victims.

Foxconn has a massive amount of employees in China, around 420,000.

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17 user comments

129.5.2010 2:02

They seem to forget the main problem...their employees are treated worse than slaves; often they are not even allowed to talk to their roommates while in the company dorms. All these people do is work, eat, and sleep...the only wonder is that so few have killed themselves.

229.5.2010 3:07

LOL a raise? gtfo. Fix their working conditions first. It "only" took 10 suicides I guess for them to be like... well, damn I guess we're doing something wrong, huh?

329.5.2010 3:51

The raise will probably be like about $1 per month at most; just a gesture to make it look like they care...they don't.

429.5.2010 9:51

Why do I imagine Steve Jobs sitting in a dark corner with a dim light illuminating his face?

529.5.2010 10:53

In china the factory works you, HA!

629.5.2010 11:41

this is why i don't buy anything that has foxconn parts. slavers is what they are. to hell with them where they belong anyway.

729.5.2010 12:38

Originally posted by DXR88:
this is why i don't buy anything that has foxconn parts. slavers is what they are. to hell with them where they belong anyway.
While I admire your stance on the situation your not making any impact or helping their situation really. All your doing is depriving yourself of the product they have to offer no matter if it's the iPhone or something else. I don't agree with the way they treat the employees but what are you going to to do. It is what it is.
The only reason this particular company is getting so much attention is because they happen to be the makers of the largest selling cell phone / smart phone ever and they are connected to Apple. I'm sure this happens in many other manufacturing plants in the world but you don't hear about them. If you were to boycott all the plants in the world that treat the workers like shit then you wouldn't have anything. You would be living in a grass hut with a mud floor.
Is it wrong? Absolutely but not uncommon.

829.5.2010 16:11
HawleyRoddick
Unverified new user

The saddest thing is that evidently some of the workers who killed themselves may have figured out that they are worth more dead than alive. Death benefits their families receive are more than a worker can hope to earn in a lifetime. More at my blog http://www.understanding-suicide.com

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 May 2010 @ 23:52

929.5.2010 18:17

Originally posted by KSib:
LOL a raise? gtfo. Fix their working conditions first. It "only" took 10 suicides I guess for them to be like... well, damn I guess we're doing something wrong, huh?
Not much different than what the DOT does, they don't do ANYTHING about the conditions of intersections, roads, or even bridges, until something happens/somebody gets killed. Then when they see that, they say: Gee, we should've done something about that. How tragic, how tragic. Now we've got Chinese people jumping out of windows all b/c of a simple, stupid little phone! Give me a f*ckin' break!!


1030.5.2010 9:46

just under 15k for death is what a life is worth....i blame unions for driving labor jobs out of this country... detroit button pushers earn 40k+ a year with like 90% retirement pay...

1130.5.2010 16:27

Originally posted by Josherrr:
just under 15k for death is what a life is worth....i blame unions for driving labor jobs out of this country... detroit button pushers earn 40k+ a year with like 90% retirement pay...
you blame unions for the 40 hour work week, weeknends, overtime pay, holiday, retirement.... do i need to go on? unions only ask for a living wage, a man kills himself for years to provide for his family and collective bargaining is his best choice to receive fair compensation for his labor. so while you're up on your soap box spouting off all the anti-union trash you've been filled with your entire life, just remember that because of unions you weren't working in a sweat shop at 10 for 60+ hours a week so your family could make ends meat...

1230.5.2010 23:26

Originally posted by djeazyg:
Originally posted by DXR88:
this is why i don't buy anything that has foxconn parts. slavers is what they are. to hell with them where they belong anyway.
While I admire your stance on the situation your not making any impact or helping their situation really. All your doing is depriving yourself of the product they have to offer no matter if it's the iPhone or something else. I don't agree with the way they treat the employees but what are you going to to do. It is what it is.
The only reason this particular company is getting so much attention is because they happen to be the makers of the largest selling cell phone / smart phone ever and they are connected to Apple. I'm sure this happens in many other manufacturing plants in the world but you don't hear about them. If you were to boycott all the plants in the world that treat the workers like shit then you wouldn't have anything. You would be living in a grass hut with a mud floor.
Is it wrong? Absolutely but not uncommon.
this isn't the first time Foxconn has been publicized about this.there where hit way back in 98-99 for the same shit, but how soon people forget.


1331.5.2010 11:49

Originally posted by car1ef:
Originally posted by Josherrr:
just under 15k for death is what a life is worth....i blame unions for driving labor jobs out of this country... detroit button pushers earn 40k+ a year with like 90% retirement pay...
you blame unions for the 40 hour work week, weeknends, overtime pay, holiday, retirement.... do i need to go on? unions only ask for a living wage, a man kills himself for years to provide for his family and collective bargaining is his best choice to receive fair compensation for his labor. so while you're up on your soap box spouting off all the anti-union trash you've been filled with your entire life, just remember that because of unions you weren't working in a sweat shop at 10 for 60+ hours a week so your family could make ends meat...
No Unions are a big problem in the US as they are driven by greed themselves and truly not for the small guy. The only reason they go for more wages is they get more union dues and if they force you to strike and you lose your job to scabs as happened at Northwest Airlines Mechanics the Union Leader doesn't lose his job for his poor decision. Meanwhile these Mechanics are displaced and will never find a job making what they did at NWA and some will lose their house because they can't keep up with the bills. Who started Unions? The MOB did. It's not a fair wage when a line worker in Detroit makes $150K salary but an Engineer or Doctor only makes $70K. Unions are a prime reason jobs left the US, but definitely not the only reason.

So the average Foxconn worker only makes $0.82/hr based on a 40 hour work week which I'm sure is more than 40 hours. Definitely China doesn't care about the people unless there is a threat of revolt. They should be concerned about raising the employees’ wages first and foremost but as others have mentioned they should probably work on a more humane work place as well.

1431.5.2010 17:45
lubricant
Inactive

i feel like a jerk for buying their products, now. and they have poor customer service.

1531.5.2010 23:37

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to buy any tech item that does not contain some part that caused human suffering to obtain. Then again, when your phone is made by slaves, from parts created by slaves, to be sold to people who claim to love freedom...that is a bit much.

161.6.2010 15:51
bobshell
Inactive

Workers suffer the world over due to money grabbing employers ,most factories would not pass health and safety issues,shift work is the thing now that is destroying family life unfortunately there is not a lot can be done about it and bosses know tis.

1713.7.2010 0:59

Wow. I Worked like an animal from the age of 16. I poured concrete, set tile, tore down and rebuilt portable classrooms, did all sorts of hazardous work. All the while I went to school whenever I could. Now I have a BA. in I.S. . I edit kernel source code, I write custom tailored applications, and I enjoy some leisure time. But all of that tech stuff is completely unpaid. The applications I write are for non-profits, the kernel editing is hobby. I am a union carpenter, I work just as hard as I did 3 years ago, ( I joined 3 years ago) but now I am actually compensated for it. Until I became union I was lucky to make 25k+ a year. that's with OT and all. Health care, yeah right find that at some scab construction operation and I'll give you a cookie. The boss, his family and the office staff may have a health plan, but certainly not the guys out in the field sweating and beating up their bodies. I am making full scale now and I can afford to relax in my off time. I am not scrambling to find more work when the work drys up at the current place. I make a living wage and am able to enjoy life. I work damn hard and I am among the best in the trade, all of my brothers and sisters will tell you the same thing.

For some reason there seems to be a stigma against the unions. Sure and joe blow from idaho can pick a hammer and swing it, a wrench and spin it, or a piece of pipe and thread it. but let me ask you this. Whould you want your child strapped in by a safty belt that someone who was completly untrained installed on his/her first day on the assembly line? Would you want to be in an elevator at the 16th floor still heading up, in an elevator that they sent some marginally trained person out to inspect for safety?

here is my experience
Employee training programs are marginal. they mostly sit you in a room with three three hour vhs tapes and give you two days to watch them. Or some other completly unqualifiable training. I installed cable for a few months in between carpentry jobs and I'll tell you what. I am pretty damn sharp, I listen, pay acute attention, and learn eveything that can be learned about something pretty quickly. I never had a callback on a job. The boss sent me to fix other peoples work. These people were supposedly trainers. Within three months I was the only one who took trainees in. Was I qualified to be doing that? I'd say so being that all of my trainees (who stuck with it) are still very successful in the field.

Unions, at least mine, have classes that you take and engage in and actually learn skills. You do this for up to four years until you know everything about they job that there is to know. But even if you don't learn it all you will have others around you who learned the same thing the same way and can help. They tell your employer what you know and what to expect from you. Your employer respects you and doesn't try any funny business with you. If you worked 12 hours a day 7 days straight you will be paid 40 hours straight time + 36 hours Overtime + 8 hours of double time. They won't say oh well you should have had 2.5 hours of breaks per day so that knocks out 21 hours of pay so you get 40 hours of straight time and 11 hours of overtime (this has been tried on me a few times, and when I complained about it and insisted they fixed it, I was being let go days later due to downsizing or some other bs). If something is unsafe you are supposed to stop working and figure out what can be done to make it safe. Not just make sure you run when you need pass under it or just go ahead and take a longer stride over the 2x2x30 foot deep hole. If you have a problem with something you don't go to the companys HR director or your boss to be fired for "coming in late one day a couple weeks ago"(complaining), You go the craft rep and they mediate for you.

There is soooooo much more that I can expound on but really unions are not the sneaky, back alley, under the table, double dealing, back stabbing, money grubbing, organizations that some people think they are. I used to think they were until I joined.

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