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Foxconn asks workers to sign nosuicide pledges

first_imgFoxconn has a problem on their hands. Too many of their workers wind up getting sick or deciding to kill themselves because of the long hours and stressful work involved with manufacturing products they know the world markets demand.The company has already tried boosting wages to increase employee morale, but now company management has another trick up their sleeves: “no suicide” pledges that every employee has to sign. The wage increases apparently haven’t changed the core working conditions at Foxconn plants in China, and at least 14 workers have committed suicide in the past 16 months.AdChoices广告Foxconn is notable because they manufacture Apple iPads and iPhones, among other Apple products. Employees are not only subject to high demand and a fast-moving assembly line, but also are required to work in utmost secrecy, especially when a new product is beginning a manufacturing run.That’s not the end of the story, either: the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour did a study of Foxconn’s facilities and found that the problem was systemic. Workers were forced to work overtime hours, with one employee clocking in over 98 hours of overtime in a single month, and during peak iPad demand workers were only able to take one day off every 13 days. Other workers were forced to stand during their entire 12-hour shifts.Unfortunately, none of those problems are issues that a signed pledge that a worker won’t kill themselves can actually fix. The pledge itself was a response by management to studies documenting the working conditions at Foxconn’s Chinese plants. Management also claims that while they admit to breaking the overtime laws, they claim it’s voluntary and the employees want to work long hours.They have also said that some employees commit suicide not because of the working conditions, but because they want to net their surviving families big compensation payments from the company. Management also points to the anti-suicide “nets” that have been put up around the Foxconn dormitory buildings where the employees stay as an example of their desire to protect workers.A “no suicide” pledge is a far cry from a fix to Foxconn’s problems, and social observers and international human rights groups claim the company isn’t doing enough to spread the workload out across more workers or pay current workers what they’re really worth. Apple’s own investigation noted that Foxconn may be failing to meet Apple’s own supplier code of conduct. Regardless, demand for iPads and iPhones is still high, and with a new iPhone on the horizon, it’s doubtful there’ll be a long term fix to Foxconn’s HR problems in the near future.via The Daily Maillast_img read more