Foxconn says two employees at China plant died; cooperating with investigations

The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's headquarters in New Taipei City, Taiwan March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Foxconn, which assembles Apple Inc products, said on Monday two workers at its manufacturing facilities in China died last week, even as the company made efforts to improve labor conditions that came under scrutiny after a spate of suicides in recent years.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, said a male employee, who joined the company last month, was found dead outside a building in Zhengzhou on Thursday, while a female employee died in a train accident on her way to work on Friday.

The company did not give further details, but said it was cooperating with authorities investigating the deaths.

The two employees worked at the Zhengzhou plant in the Henan province, which analysts say has become a hub for Foxconn’s production of Apple devices such as iPhone.

A year ago, another employee in Zhengzhou died. A labor rights group said at the time that it was a suicide.

Employee deaths in China are sensitive for the Taiwanese firm. After a series of suicides in 2010-2011, most at its Shenzhen manufacturing operation, Foxconn sought to improve labour conditions.

“Our efforts are ongoing and we are determined to do whatever we can to anticipate the changing needs of our large workforce in China,” Foxconn said in a statement Monday.

Foxconn employs about 1.3 million people during peak production times, making it one of the largest private employers in the world.

Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore