Foxconn Suicide Report: Deaths Prompt Independent Investigations By Apple And HP

May 26, 2010, By Intermaggio

After a growing number of suicidal deaths of Foxconn employees, the tech manufacturer has caught the attention of two of its biggest clients: Apple and Hewelett Packard. Nine suicides have occurred at Foxconn, so Apple and HP have decided to take action.

Foxconn is one of the largest manufacturers of high technology in the world- producing gadgets like the iPhone, among countless others. So it’s no surprise that the recent slew of suicides has caught the attention of both Foxconn’s clients and the mass media.

Foxconn is considered by many to be a borderline sweatshop- working conditions are harsh, but always voluntary. Most employees sign waivers so the company can schedule them for more overtime than would otherwise be legal. In addition, wages are low, and working conditions are cramped, so it comes as no surprise that the suicides have become contagious.

Apple is taking the lead in looking into the recent deaths:

“We’re in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously,” he said in an official statement. “A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made.”

While there are numerous cases of worker mistreatment, and suicides related to terrible work conditions in China, this one is certainly the farthest reaching- Foxconn is responsible for the majority of Apple and HP products- among a number of other companies, so any significant changes to their business will almost certainly have a significant impact on the world economy, and the tech industry.

It’s terrible that workers are treated in such a way- but is it a necessary evil? Consider that the components of the computer or phone you’re reading this article from were likely built by employees in similar conditions- is it acceptable that so many of our products are produced that way? What can we do to change the status quo? Drop us a comment and share your thoughts.

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