updated 07:35 pm EDT, Wed May 19, 2010
Suicide cluster still left unexplained
An undercover reporter from the Chinese liberal newspaper Southern Weekly has taken a closer look at the working conditions inside Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, China. The investigation exposed grim working conditions in the factory that has seen nine suicide attempts, with seven confirmed deaths, in less than six months.
The paper sent amateur reporter Liu Zhi Yi to the plant to pose as a young worker and interview many of the employees. Liu suggests the company forces workers to work extremely long hours, only leaving enough extra time to sleep and eat. Many employees allegedly yearn to drop a component, as bending over might be the only chance to break from the constant standing on assembly lines.
Foxconn is said to require employees to sign an overtime waiver that shields the company from government scrutiny over the long hours without additional compensation. Workers are said to bring in monthly wages equivalent to just $130 USD, well below what they would need to even buy one of the Apple products they help to create.
The report blames the recent surge in suicide attempts on Foxconn's working conditions, although it is unlikely that the workers would find a better alternative among other large factories in the region. Foxconn currently employs over 450,000 individuals, representing a group larger than the entire populations of many US cities. [via M.I.C Gadget]