Ninth iPhone factory worker commits suicide - gHacks Tech News

Ninth iPhone factory worker commits suicide

A ninth worker at Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has committed suicide.  21 year old Nan Gang leapt from the four story factory in the early hours of the morning yesterday, according to China's state media, later reported by the BBC.

A total of 11 Foxconn employees have tried to kill themselves this year, two have survived.

Many western companies that rely on far-eastern factories for cheap mass-production of goods have been criticized over the years for the manner in which workers are treated in their factories.  Apple however is one of the few that brought it's own shortcomings to the public's attention by publishing it's own report on worker's welfare last year, and vowing to take action.

Nevertheless this will raise further questions generally about the welfare of far-eastern factory workers in countries such as Taiwan and China, as Foxconn has had suicides for workers as young as 16.

Foxconn is a part of the world's largest manufacturer of consumer electronics, Hon Hai Precision that employs 800,000 workers, mostly in China.

Foxconn said it took worker's welfare seriously and said it was enlisting the support of counselors and Buddhist monks to provide emotional support at this difficult time.  However the Chinese governments' own Labour Watch has criticised the company for their "military-style administration and harsh working conditions".

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Nan Gang at this difficult time.

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Comments

  1. DanTe said on May 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm
    Reply

    It’s bad enough to use an iPhone. To have to actually make this junk? Horrors! Suicide is the only way out!

    :p

  2. paulus said on May 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm
    Reply

    givernments?

    But on a more serious note this is also going on in the west. Think of al the youngsters who are working in places like the mind numbing like Mac Donald, kentuky fried chicken, 7 eleven,etc. etc.. In those places for example Mexican people youngsters work for 1.17 dollar an hour, in normaly 14 hour shifts. And in those groups there also a lot of attempts to take their on live. Considering there are more than 1,5 biljoen chinese maybe it’s a normal statistic number compared, to the west with this i have to say that its to cruel for words what there is going on.

  3. Jojo said on May 22, 2010 at 12:10 am
    Reply

    Only 9 so far? How about 11 in 2009 and at least 46 since 2008 at this large French company? And this is said to NOT BE an abnormal number for French companies!
    ============
    March 31, 2010
    Critics Exploit Télécom Suicides, Ex-Executive Says

    PARIS — Outsiders have taken advantage of the wave of suicides at France Télécom to push their own agenda, a former top executive at the company said in an interview posted Wednesday on a Web site.

    At least 46 France Télécom employees have committed suicide since January 2008, according to the company, including 11 this year. Unions have pointed to relentless reorganizations and cost-cutting as the cause.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/business/global/01ftel.html

  4. Jojo said on May 22, 2010 at 12:10 am
    Reply

    Why Chinese workers might turn to suicide:
    =========
    Microsoft Supplier Uses Child Workers And Pays Them $0.65 Per Hour
    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-slammed-over-child-labor-accusations-2010-4

    Microsoft Opens Probe after China Factory Report
    Labor group says workers at KYE Systems Corp. factory have no rights as ‘every single labor law in China is being violated.’
    http://www.industryweek.com/articles/microsoft_opens_probe_after_china_factory_report_21597.aspx

    1. Troll the trolls said on May 22, 2010 at 6:20 am
      Reply

      And as usual there’s always one that can’t handle it when they see an article about the great Apple. Should be more concerned over why Apple is in the hot seat so much and having employees commit suicide, rather than make it a contest over who gets mentioned more

  5. Nunuv Yerbiznezz said on May 22, 2010 at 12:42 am
    Reply

    Whoever wrote this item need’s to learn the rule’s for correct use’s of apostorphe’s and the difference’s between its and it’s. That’s something most of u’s learned in the second grade.

    1. LOL said on May 22, 2010 at 6:18 am
      Reply

      You should learn a little grammar before bashing someone else. Most of us have learned to spell us before the second grade

    2. Jojo said on May 22, 2010 at 10:07 am
      Reply

      Get a life Nunuv.

  6. Martin Hill said on May 22, 2010 at 1:03 am
    Reply

    Actually, 9 suicides so far this year out of almost half a million workers (420,000) while very sad is actually  well below the suicide rates of most countries including the USA and a third the rate of the rest of China.

    Extrapolating the figures, Foxconn has the suicide rate equivalent of only 5.7 per 100,000 per year. 

    Here’s a list of the suicide rates per 100,000 per year in a few other countries for comparison (figures from Wikipedia):

    UK = 6.4
    Australia = 10.9
    USA= 11.2
    Canada = 11.6
    Rest of China = 13.9
    France = 17.0 
    Finland = 18.4
    Japan = 24.4 
    Russia = 27.1
    Belarus = 35.1

    Based on the Chinese rate, one would expect 58 suicides a year or 4.9 per month amongst a population as large as Foxconn’s workforce. So by this point in the year one would have expected at least 22 suicide deaths.  

    In fact, considering assembly line workers are bang smack in the middle of the high risk 16-35 age group, one would have expected an even higher suicide rate than the general population and yet Foxconn has only had 9 deaths so far this year.

    Based on these figures the current media interest in Foxconn appears to be ignoring the facts.   

    -Mart

    1. Jojo said on May 22, 2010 at 10:06 am
      Reply

      Martin – I think the problem with your analysis is not the number of suicides per 100k of population, but the fact that so many suicides are occurring in ONE company. That seems toi be a bit of an anomaly.

      1. Martin Hill said on May 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm
        Reply

        @JoJo,
        It is perhaps more of an anomaly that there isn’t the same or higher rate of suicide in a company as large as Foxconn (420,000 workers) where despite these workers being in jobs that are regimented, repetitive and very boring (assembly line jobs are like that), they’ve actually got a lower suicide rate. Here’s a quote from Le Monde:

        “In the 1970s, which was marked by the development of assembly line production, workers had the highest rate of suicide. Sociologist Renaud Sainsaulieu, who studied assembly lines where workers were almost completely isolated, remarked that they were often dehumanized to the point where they were surprised to be treated as people when they returned home from their jobs.”

        There is also the fact that the rate for the general population also includes babies and children ages 0-16 for whom suicide is of course extremely low in the younger ages in particular, so again, as a result, you would expect Foxconn’s suicide rate to be higher than the general population, but it is not.

        However, it is true that farmers and the non-retired unemployed also have high rates of suicide, but not having seen any studies to compare rates between these different demographics in China, it makes it difficult to analyse.

        -Mart

  7. Lulu said on September 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm
    Reply

    Thats quite sad….

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