Last week three hundred Chinese factory workers employed to Foxconn allegedly threatened mass suicide. This isn’t the first time Foxconn has been involved in work-related suicides. As explained in reports from Want China Times, the situation escalated on January 2nd after employees asked for a raise.
In return from the company they were informed that they could either quit with compensation or keep their current wages. In light of the circumstances, most of the Chinese factory workers decided to quit. They were outraged however when the factory refused to afford them their implied compensation. This led to the mass suicide situation that consisted of nearly 300 people threatening to jump from a building.
This isn’t the first time Foxconn has dealt with suicides however.
In its March 2011 issue Wired had calculated that in the last 5 years seventeen Foxconn employees have taken their own lives. According to the Huffington Post the company had attempted to counteract these results by making all their employees sign a ‘no-suicide pact’ as part of their contract. Not satisfied, the Students & Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (Sacom) organization performed interviews with almost 120 Foxconn employees and discovered signs of “excessive and forced” overtime, among numerous other violations regarding the safety equipment that Foxconn allegedly does not provide.
Due to the circumstances of the situation Microsoft, whom are clients of the Foxconn company, is looking into the matter. Though they are only one of Foxconn’s high-end clients, which according to Yahoo News also includes HP, Dell, and Apple. Microsoft aren’t the only ones who have seen a problem though, in June 2011 Apple sent suicide-prevention experts to inspect the situation and conditions of the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.
The report that Apple issued afterwards stated that Foxconn’s response to the suicides had “definitely saved lives.” There are two similar Digital Journal articles that explain the situation of the Foxconn employees should you want to look more into the subject: