BEIJING May 27 An employee of iPhone-maker
Foxconn (2038.HK) jumped to his death late on Wednesday, state
media reported, the tenth suspected suicide this year at the
high-tech firm's huge production base in southern China.
The spate of jumps, including two others in which employees
survived, has thrown a spotlight on the tough labour practices of
Foxconn, a unit of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry (2317.TW),
whose clients include Apple (AAPL.O) and Sony Ericsson
The official Xinhua news agency said the latest death
involved a worker who fell from a dormitory window, but it gave
no other details.
Just hours before the latest fall, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou
had toured the firm's sprawling facilities in Shenzhen and vowed
to take sweeping actions to prevent more deaths. [ID:nTOE64O08R]
The firm was training about 100 mental health counsellors and
installing 1.5 million square metres of nets to stop workers from
jumping, Xinhua said.
The safety nets will cover nearly all dormitories and
"Although this seems like a dumb measure, at least it could
save a life should anyone else fall," Gou was quoted as saying.
Foxconn has 420,000 employees based in Shenzhen. They live
inside the factory complex and churn out products for the world's
leading computer and phone companies in round-the-clock shifts.
Labour groups say the rash of apparent suicides has exposed
the harsh working conditions at Foxconn.
Li Ping, secretary general of the Shenzhen municipal
government, told a news conference on Wednesday that the pressure
of being away from home with little care from society was part of
a complex set of factors underpinning the suicides by the
employees, mainly people under the age of 30.
He said the government was joining with the police and
Foxconn to consider a range of ideas such as building up sports
and cultural facilities to improve the living environment, Xinhua
Apple said on Wednesday that company executives were saddened
by the spate of apparent suicides and that it had sent its own
team to independently evaluate the steps Foxconn was taking in
response to the deaths. [ID:nHKU002337]
(Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Ken Wills)