Rash of Suicides Prompt Foxconn to Raise Worker Wages - HotHardware
Rash of Suicides Prompt Foxconn to Raise Worker Wages

Rash of Suicides Prompt Foxconn to Raise Worker Wages

Foxconn thinks they have a solution to the mounting suicides that have rocked the company's China operations: pay the workers more money. According to reports, Foxconn plans to raise wages by 30 percent, which still isn't all that much, but it's a start. One report has the basic salary at Foxconn's China plants at about 900 yuan a month, or just over $130.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an unauthorized Foxconn spokesman told the Associated Press that the pay raise is designed to reduce overtime and give workers "more time for leisure and have a happier working environment. It may also help cut the turnover rate and raise productivity and product quality level."



Foxconn is the biggest supplier of OEM products in the world and builds a number of high-end products, including Apple's iPhones and iPads. But the company has come under heavy fire lately for frequent suicide attempts, most of which were 'successful.' Most recently, a 25-year-old worker tried to take his life by slashing his wrists in the factory dormitory last week. The other attempts involved jumping off of buildings, with one man said to have stabbed himself numerous times in the chest for jumping to his death.

According to the AP report, labor activists have bemoaned Foxconn's work environment for the company's rigid management style, fast assembly line, and forced overwork. Foxconn says the allegations aren't true. Whether the pay raise will have the kind of effect Foxconn is hoping for remains to be seen.

"Live is meaningless," Ah Wei, a Foxconn worker who put in a 12-hour overnight shift building mobile phones, told Bloomberg. "Everyday, I repeat the same thing I did yesterday. We get yelled at all the time. It's very tough around here."



As Bloomberg reports it, workers aren't allowed to talk on the production lines, bathroom breaks are limited to 10 minutes every two hours, and ear plugs do little to protect from the constant barrage of noise pollution that sweeps through the factory.

Stories like Ah Wei's -- which isn't his real name, by way -- makes you wonder if Apple can truly be "all over this," as Steve Jobs said yesterday at a technology conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. According to Jobs, Foxconn is "not a sweatshop." Maybe not, but thus far, it's been a deathtrap for too many young employees.
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I really do feel for these people. They are trying to make a living out of providing us western countries with all these tech. goodies. They are usually younger people working, but of course all walks of life work there. I can't imagine working 12 hours a day...i've done it before working 3 jobs (1 full time, 1 part time, and 1 personal) and it's pretty tough. You go to work, finish that, go to work again and by the time you're done that job it's time to go to bed and wake up to go to your job again. It's pretty stressful, especially if your job is monotonous. Not to mention I felt burnt out after about 3 solid months of doing that kind of work.

As China weans off it's communistic style (and I know China isn't completely 100% communist), it may take decades but I can see them in the future having laws against working too much, and updating their minnimum wage (if they even have one, which I highly doubt).

It will take a while, but eventually things should get better. Hang in there my asian comrades! :)

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Raising wages provides no long term happiness for employees. Look at yourself and past raises. If you get a raise at a job you hate you might be happy for a few weeks, but you still hate the job. What these people need is less hours and a higher quality of life.

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>> Raising wages provides no long term happiness for employees

Then how about my idea for one huge trampoline around the building that prevents suicides *and* provides happiness? Of course, I guess it wouldn't work for the "suicides" where the person "stabbed themselves" before jumping.

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Yea, i've pulled a week of 12 hours shifts... i've pulled some where I worked 9 days straight... but these guys are doing that stuff constantly. That would definitely drain the life out of you. I'm only working 40 hour weeks right now and that's draining me lol

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Well I actually worked from 8 in the morning till generally 8 at night (sometimes later) on set schedule when I worked as a private contractor for comcast for over a year 6 days a week 7 days a week on an alternating schedule (1week 6 next week 7, next 6, next 7).

When I was a mobile communications/systems engineer for retail locations (Walmart, Lowes, HD, Dollar tree, BJ's, Sam's, Costco etc.)nation wide (a different job) we worked more than that on the road for as much as 1.5 months at a time. Of course that was sweet money with OT etc generally 70-80 hours a week, but I burnt out at just short of a year on that one. I could go back if I wanted (1360 a week plus perdium (daily personal living expenses) and expenses (Gas, materials, boarding), the money is sweet, but you have no life really.

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Of course I did that here which meant much better wages, and it was by choice, I received full over time etc (time and a half) benefits etc.

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We worked significant overtime on the Space Shuttle project. (building them) When we got close to finishing one of them, the overtime would skyrocket due to their delivery schedules and they usually made it mandatory to be there or get fired. 14 and 16 hr days happened allot during those times, 12 of them being required to keep your job. Why did we stay longer than 12 hours?

Because they paid the crap out of us to do it.

An average pay rate of 30 bucks an hour and anything over 8hrs was time and a half. Saturdays started out at time and a half and went to double time after 8 hrs too. Sundays started at double time.

Long hours were a drag, but at least they paid them 'fine as wine' wages!

PS: the tax man liked it too.

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realneil:

We worked significant overtime on the Space Shuttle project. (building them) When we got close to finishing one of them, the overtime would skyrocket due to their delivery schedules and they usually made it mandatory to be there or get fired. 14 and 16 hr days happened allot during those times, 12 of them being required to keep your job. Why did we stay longer than 12 hours?

Because they paid the crap out of us to do it.

An average pay rate of 30 bucks an hour and anything over 8hrs was time and a half. Saturdays started out at time and a half and went to double time after 8 hrs too. Sundays started at double time.

Long hours were a drag, but at least they paid them 'fine as wine' wages!

PS: the tax man liked it too.

I have done some long periods too. Working the state fair was about as many hours, but only for 2 weeks. I can grid it out that long, but I really could do that day in and day out for years. That is no way to live.

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And the other side of the coin is that you'll accept crap wages if you love your job. Please don't tell my bosses, but I do like teachers do-- I spend a whole lot more time than I get paid for, and contribute materials paid for out of my own pocket, because I love being a History Maker so much. (Despite it being paid less than a third of what the guy who spray-paints pedestrian crosswalks gets.)

All of which does not apply to Foxconn. That picture (the one nearer the bottom) is just damn scary. It's precisely the image of the office in the eerie 1962 Orson Welles film (from the Franz Kafka story of the same name) The Trial.

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