Another Foxconn Worker Plummets to His Death, Time to Demand Answers

Another Foxconn employee has fallen from a building to his death, the tenth fall reported since the start of this year, eight of which have proved fatal. Local police said they were looking into the incident, but given the spate of apparent suicides and bizarre circumstances surrounding them (a previous victim was found with knife wounds to the chest that were determined to be self-inflicted), these investigations come as little consolation.

Something has to give, lest employees of the world's largest manufacturer of electronics and computer components continue leaping to their death at a clip of about 2 per month. I'm not suggesting we boycott Foxconn products -- they produce so much hardware for so many companies that this would hardly be feasible -- but someone needs to step to the plate and start demanding some answers. And that someone should be Apple. Or Intel. Or Sony. Or any number of industry heavyweights whose products come from Foxconn parts.



"We are extremely tired, with tremendous pressure," the campaign group China Labor Watch quoted workers in a computer assembly department as saying. According to the report, many employees blame the recent suicides to the stress of 12 hour work days, sometimes for weeks at a time without a day off.

What's particularly sad about this is how young the workers are. The latest victim was only 21 years old, and of the 420,000 employees based in Shenzhen, most are under 30, Reuters reports. These are young adults barely out of the next who are feeling the pressure to churn out iPhones, iPods, motherboards, console components, and other parts around the clock. Even Amazon's Kindle is sporting Foxconn inside, yet why aren't any of these companies demanding answers? Why isn't anyone taking a stand against working conditions that have twenty-somethings stabbing themselves in the chest before diving off of building tops?

Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Sony, and every other company that uses Foxconn parts, it's time to stop burying your collective heads in the sand. Issue a statement, cancel orders, launch your own investigation - do something, anything, because people's lives, the ones who play a part in making your products, are depending on it.
Via:  Reuters
Comments
rapid1 4 years ago

These things are on the equipment providers who make these business's thrive in China as well as anywhere else in the world these kind of work conditions exist. This is a very interesting point to consider.

If you think about Foxconn and it's country of origin China as well as there political/social makeup you see a lot of things. Consider Russia 20 years ago, and Russia today. Yes they are still relative, but they were forced to change by the market and financial considerations. In this way the market itself said no to communism.

If all the equipment providers "Listen up "APPLE" if you insisted on changes for the workers who make all the incredible devices you sell. Then they "China" as a world power would have no choice but to insist on changes, and then implement them.

I do not care if your idealism is existent in Communism. You still on a large scale basis have to treat humans as humans, and not pieces of a machine as China does. These companies who do business with this provider, and many others enable the current way of operations. Therefore every person who has an iPhone, iPod, iPad or uses the Apple market as well as the company themselves are responsible for the men and woman's death. At least to a degree.

If these people as many Apple users insist are smarter or more capable, and lets not forget politically correct, they should insist that Apple, Sony, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon and every other company who they buy devices from insist on this step.

If the companies refuse or say they are not responsible I will use someone else as a provider for my devices. This is known as market correction, and in most cases is the true ideal of a capitalist market. While this may, and obviously is not, the aim of a communist regime, the communist regime can still not exist without the money it gets from the capitalist's who purchase it's goods and services.

Much like anything else; insist on quality and except nothing else, and in the end you get quality! When this is related to the treatment as well as conditions other humans have to exist in, it seems as if this would be insisted upon, but right now it is being enabled by companies who allow it, and the consumers who support them!

Joel H 4 years ago

I have to press pause on this whole thing and ask a simple question: Is this Foxconn's fault? I don't think we know. It's incredibly doubtful that Foxconn would threaten workers with death/dismemberment, which means these workers bear responsibility for their own actions.

By all means, investigate Foxconn's hiring/firing practices and how it treats its employees, but let's not forget that everyone stepping off the building chose to do so.

Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

The problem I have with that is we're not talking about one individual who may have been chemically imbalanced, but 10 employees of the same workplace in the course of less than five months. Foxconn bears some responsibility here, and at the very least some kind of statement about the situation would be appropriate.

rapid1 4 years ago

Hey for those saying this has nothing to do with Foxconn or Apple directly hereas a bite of data !

"The rash of recent suicides comes as employees have been being pressured to work long hours to fulfill demand for Apple's popular iPhones and iPads. Also there's the recent video and fresh reports of security staff antagonizing employees in wake of Apple's demand for unparalleled secrecy at the plant. One of the three suicides that occurred at the plant last year came after security staff beat an employee who lost a prototype of the fourth generation iPhone. Foxconn guards have also beat up reporters trying to interview workers at Apple's secret plant.

Apple's own recent internal audit complained that many of its suppliers were engaging in abusive working practices, including forcing employees to work unpaid overtime, and using child labor. It did not tell which suppliers were found in violation."

animatortom 4 years ago

Adolf used to give his troops Meth before going into battle in order to make the Blitzkrieg faster and more effective.

Any of these societies that have the same "Means to an end" thinking, have no regard for human life. Only the end results! The only ones who benefit are those in usurped power. So those "workers of the world unite" People only care about how much can be filtered to themselves.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese are giving the workers crystal meth to make them more productive and cut down costs. Then when they start freaking out and jumping, it doesn't really matter because it is not their fault.

They all understand one simple ideal, That history is written by the victor!

rapid1 4 years ago

I think that is a very fitting definition of this. My point here is companies who are great competitor's in American market are at least in this mess by there own choosing. If they insisted on these companies like Foxconn in Asia and many I am sure in China as well as other parts of the world treating there workers humainley (rather than as machines as the communist doctrine allows in China), or loosing the business to a company elsewhere, they would be forced to capitulate or loose. It seems like a win win situation to be for everything except Steve Job's (as a figure head) pocket.

It also seems quite odd to me that Microsoft of all companies whose founders flies around the world being a humanitarian is even close enough to this to be mentioned bearing that in mind. Either way money is what speaks now world wide. So if these companies are in the position to capitulate this as they obviously are, and all of them raise there humanitarian effort's all the time. Then if they don't do this all of that is nothing but lies!

realneil 4 years ago

Tom,....I had never heard that Hitler gave his soldiers drugs to make them fight better.

I believe that Sino-traditional attitudes in the workplace are party to blame for this mess. Losing face is a huge thing for the Chinese people.

Losing your job, or even a public reprimand is a terrific loss of face for someone of that culture. A heavy handed supervisor could be at least partially to blame for what's going on.

I also think that it should be investigated and corrected too.

Schmich 4 years ago

Finally someone stating that the companies should look at it. Others say that it's the consumer's fault for wanting cheap products completely forgetting that companies like Apple have HUGE margins on their products and that they also have HUGE power with the ability to anything.

ClemSnide 4 years ago

Time to demand answers? ...How about time to put up some dang bars on the windows?

rapid1 4 years ago

The rash of recent suicides comes as employees have been being pressured to work long hours to fulfill demand for Apple's popular iPhones and iPads. Also there's the recent video and fresh reports of security staff antagonizing employees in wake of Apple's demand for unparalleled secrecy at the plant. One of the three suicides that occurred at the plant last year came after security staff beat an employee who lost a prototype of the fourth generation iPhone. Foxconn guards have also beat up reporters trying to interview workers at Apple's secret plant.

Apple's own recent internal audit complained that many of its suppliers were engaging in abusive working practices, including forcing employees to work unpaid overtime, and using child labor. It did not tell which suppliers were found in violation.

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