Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) has once again returned to the news. Not because they are once again laying off workers due to slowing iPhone and iPad sales. But because, for the second time in three years, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant is experiencing a rash of workers jumping from its facilities. While there hasn’t been any specific evidence made available that points to suicide, its a fairly safe guess that the workers aren’t doing a bunch of LSD nor listening to R. Kelly records and believing they too can fly.
This is far from the first time that Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) has been called out for its labor practices and it won’t be the last. On April 27 and May 14, two workers employed at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, China, separately fell to their deaths, according to a Foxconn spokesperson. The company maintains that the two deaths were not work related and that the workers had family issues. A third worker was found dead on May 11 at Foxconn’s Chongqing facility, and a video showing the incident was posted online. It’s not difficult to find if that’s your cup of tea, but we aren’t in the habit of posting “snuff films” here.
“Suicide is a complex issue,” the company said in statement, “there is no one reason that can ever be cited for any such incident.” New York based China Labor Watch would certainly beg to differ, and also reported a fourth death in this same time period though Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) has said through a spokesperson that the person in question only applied for a job and never worked on the assembly line as the majority of Foxconn’s employees do.
“I think it was the pressure from the job and also some personal problems that caused it,” said one worker, who wished to go unnamed. “We work in a closed environment and people can’t vent their issues. So instead, workers go jump down from buildings and die.”
The worker in question was surely referring to Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354)’s “silence mode” policy that prevents workers from speaking to each other about non-work related matters. This policy was reversed when reported in the western media, but most labor rights groups believe that it is still enforced, just officially no longer a policy.
“We encourage employees to minimize discussions that are non-work-related and to ensure that they do not disturb their fellow workers especially when operating machinery,” the company said today.