updated 11:05 am EDT, Fri May 27, 2011
Compounds tragedies at iPad assembly facility
A man working at Foxconn's plant in Chengdu, China has committed suicide, reports say. Although few other details are available, the person is remarked to have jumped off the roof of his apartment building. The fall is the 16th by a Foxconn worker since January 2010, and the 14th resulting in death. Company chairman Terry Guo comments that he has been busy for the past two days, and doesn't know the full details of the suicide.
The problem, Guo explains, is that the dead man was receiving rent assistance to live off-campus, part of a new initiative. Like a lot of Chinese manufacturers Foxconn normally maintains living quarters for its employees, a necessity because of the vast numbers of people coming from rural China to look for work. Pay and working conditions have often been described as terrible, though, and sometimes blamed for the suicides.
The Chengdu facility is notable for concentrating on Apple iPad production, and is one of the few Foxconn plants oriented toward a single company, much less a single product. The suicide will likely only worsen misery at the factory, which last Friday was hit by an explosion that killed three people and injured many others. Most iPads are assembled at Foxconn's central Shenzhen campus though, which if nothing else should leave iPad supplies relatively unaffected.