updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon July 27, 2009
Foxconn blames dead worker
The Foxconn worker who killed himself in mid-July, Sun Danyong, may not have been wholly innocent, claims the company's general manager for China, James Lee. Interviewed by the New York Times, Lee notes that products went missing several times under Danyong's watch, although they would always return. The disappearance of a fourth-generation iPhone prototype -- immediately preceding Danyong's death -- is said to have raised suspicions. "We don't know who took the product, but it was at his stop," says Lee.
Following Danyong's confession, reports have alleged that the worker was subjected to an intense interrogation by Foxconn security, involving solitary confinement, a search of his dorm and a beating. Recent information indicates that Danyong's family was given $44,000 and a MacBook as compensation; during a interview with the family last week, however, a security guard and two Foxconn workers are said to have threatened the translator, demanding that he stop asking questions. Foxconn has since said the guard was not on staff.
Conditions at many Foxconn plants are believed to be poor. A July investigation discovered that during 2008, 45 of 83 factories building iPhones and iPods were not paying proper overtime; 23 were failing to pay China's minimum wage. In its tour of one Foxconn factory, the Times was told by one in 15 employees that they were forced to work illegal amounts of overtime.