January 13, 2012
FoxConn Xbox Workers Threaten Suicide
Assembly workers at Foxconn Technology´s Wuhan plant, where they build Microsoft´s Xbox 360, threatened to kill themselves if their wages and working conditions did not improve.
CNET reports that the workers at the Xbox factory grew disgruntled after being denied pay raises. Then on January 2, the employees reportedly said they would jump off the roof of the factory if their demands were not met.
Microsoft is conducting an investigation into the matter, but a deal had been reached with the employees. According to a Microsoft representative, “It is our understanding that the worker protest was related to staffing assignments and transfer policies, not working conditions. Due to regular production adjustments, Foxconn offered the workers the option of being transferred to alternative production lines or resigning and receiving all salary and bonuses due, according to length of service. After the protest, the majority of workers chose to return to work. A smaller portion of those employees elected to resign.”
Suicides at Foxconn are not new. Over the last two years 16 Foxconn employees have committed suicide at the Shenzhen, China factory. And three others have attempted suicide. This has prompted the company to install “suicide nets” around the factory to discourage employees from jumping off of buildings.
Worker discontent in Chinese factories has grown in the last months as they cope with rising costs, scarce credit and declining orders from Europe, the United States and domestic companies. And to further complicate matters as the Lunar New Year approaches, migrant workers quit and return home temporarily before looking for better employment.
Foxconn is a unit of Taiwan´s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co that makes iPads, iPhones, Xboxes and any other gadget where the brand designer wants to hold down manufacturing costs.
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