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Jobs defends Foxconn suicides as 'below average'

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Tue June 1, 2010

Insists Apple is addressing complaints

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is defending his company's approach to Foxconn, a key manufacturer accused of inhumane working conditions, an e-mail exchange is said to reveal. Conditions inside a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China were recently reported to be harsh, with low pay and no free time beyond sleeping and eating. More critically, the situation is thought to be responsible for 10 Foxconn workers killing themselves in a space of months.

"Although every suicide is tragic, Foxconn's suicide rate is well below the China average," Jobs claims. "We are all over this," he adds.

The statement is likely in reference to an Apple investigation into Foxconn's working conditions. Jobs also points to his company's supplier responsibility webpage as evidence that Apple does "more than any other company on the planet" to ensure safe and respectful factories.

Apple is already believed to be responding to the issue by subsidizing Foxconn workers with more of its profits. Still unresolved though are shift hours, said to be so rough that workers are tempted to drop parts for an excuse to bend over. Groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan are pressuring Apple and various factory owners to allow unions, with collective bargaining powers.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nothing like an inflammatory headline

    to bring in the viewers. Disappointed.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If Apple subs the pay for the workers, I wonder if this is a first for an American Tech company to do so.

  1. yoshinoya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple is not JUST any old ordinary American company. They are a *beloved* company with devoted fans and users. As someone who has been using Apples since the Apple ][+, I really do hope they take the high road and make sure everything is going well at Foxconn. Shoot, I hope they end up putting their bundles of cash to good use and buy Foxconn outright!

  1. JL1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Headline worse than inflammatory

    I've been seeing plenty of inflammatory headlines lately. This one, however, is outright disrespectful and insulting, to say the least.

    Jobs' statement starts with "Although every suicide is tragic..." Your headline starts with "Jobs defends Foxconn suicides..." Jobs is defending no such thing. That is an outright lie, and to accuse Jobs of adopting such a stance on this particular topic is particularly disturbing.

    This headline was enough to make me create this account and post this, and it might be enough for me to stop reading macnnn.

    Please, have some respect!!

  1. designr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's OK!

    Just as long as the physical and emotional abuse workers are subjected to is below the Chinese national average, that's OK. I mean, other companies have hundreds and hundreds of worker suicides every year, employees diving off the tops of Shanghai skyscrapers like lemmings. So what if the workers have to work 120 hour weeks and still don't make enough money to pay off the company store for their room and board, they do get a cot to timeshare and a bowl of rice. Heck, some workers might even get a half day off once a year so they can visit with their families through the chain-link fence. It's important for all Americans to understand that all their Jobs (lol) went to China for a reason -- so the Americans who still have Jobs (lol) can buy the very best disposable gizmos.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Is it the people who are below average?

  1. el chupacabra

    Joined: Dec 1969


    At least it's overseas and not in America

    those employees should just be grateful conditions are a little better than elsewhere in china. Those lazy workers are just trying to drive up the price our iPhones. Suppress them!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Y'know...

    Shoot, I hope they end up putting their bundles of cash to good use and buy Foxconn outright!

    Why in the world should Apple waste their money in such ways? Companies like Foxconn exist because companies (be it computer ones like Apple or other industries) long ago realized it was cheaper to sub-contract out the work than pay for it themselves.

    And there is nothing special about Foxconn that Apple can't find another third-party to build their stuff. In fact, they've used others in the past.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Agreed

    If Apple subs the pay for the workers, I wonder if this is a first for an American Tech company to do so.

    Yeah, throw money at the situation. That will solve the problem. How about, instead, make sure their 'partners' aren't driving their work forces to the tune of 15 hours per day, with no breaks, and in unsafe conditions.

    Nah! We'll just shoot them a couple of extra bucks for their inconvenience.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    that headline is prolly worse

    than the actual worker situation -- and that's getting pretty bad!

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