Foxconn plans 20 percent wage increases as suicides continue

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
After another alleged suicide at Foxconn's Shenzhen, China, plant on Wednesday, and an attempted suicide on Thursday, the company revealed that it plans to give a 20 percent pay raise to its employees.



According to Reuters, an employee jumped to his death on late Wednesday, marking the tenth suicide at the Chinese plant this year alone. Another employee attempted to slit his wrists on Thursday, but survived after receiving medical attention.



Foxconn -- the registered trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry -- will increase workers' salaries by 20 percent. Entry-level workers at the company's factory in Longhua reportedly earn just over 900 yuan, or $131.80 U.S. per month before overtime and bonuses.



Recently, an undercover report from Southern Weekend revealed that employees sign "voluntary overtime affidavits" to take home more than the local minimum wage that can be earned through a regular 36-hour workweek.



This week, Apple publicly stated it is looking into the issues at Foxconn, and said it is "saddened and upset" by the suicides that have occurred there recently. The Mac maker has its own investigative team that will carry out independent investigations.



Apple, along with numerous other electronics makers, partners with Foxconn for the building of its products. It creates iPhones and iPads for the Cupertino, Calif., company.



This week, other technology giants Nokia and Sony joined Apple in showing concern over the labor conditions at Foxconn. Both companies said they, too, are looking into conditions at the factory in Shenzhen. Previously, HP and Dell had also expressed a similar sentiment.



Apple began auditing its plants in 2006 after a newspaper report suggested workers at a Foxconn plant were treated unfairly and forced to operate under sweatshop-like conditions. Apple now conducts an annual audit of its overseas partners, and last year found that more than half weren't paying their workers valid overtime rates.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 88
    roos24roos24 Posts: 170member
    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.
  • Reply 2 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    The way SJ thinks these days, perhaps they might build their own manufacturing plant here! That would be cool.
  • Reply 3 of 88
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,086member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    $131 per month compared to $1160 in the USA at minimum wage? Not gonna happen.
  • Reply 4 of 88
    rindrind Posts: 66member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    The way SJ thinks these days, perhaps they might build their own manufacturing plant here! That would be cool.



    While I would love to see that happen , What would an iPhone cost if it were made in the US?



    Glad that high profile companies are looking into this.

    Have to wonder what is so bad that you would kill yourself over a Job
  • Reply 5 of 88
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    MONEY IS NOT THE ANSWER AND WILL NOT STOP SUICIDES... FOXCONN needs a change in their working environment and stop running their shops like a military operation.
  • Reply 6 of 88
    Rather disgraceful it took 10 people to kill themselves to get a 20% raise, talk about greed!! The raise is nice, but I would guess it's not all about money it's also about overtime, pressure to produce quickly and management. Apple, Dell, Sony and others need to pressure them to change their management style also and hours workers are forced to work. Too much pressure and bad working conditions on anyone even if making more money can make one snap (e.g. U.S. postal workers, etc.).



    Would be nice if Apple and other U.S. companies moved production back to the U.S. or at the very least to Mexico to easier moderate, but that'll never happen - as with Foxconn, it's all about money - profits and greed. And these companies don't want to pay higher hourly wages, benefits, and higher production cost - this whole thing is just sad all around.
  • Reply 7 of 88
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    What the tech world really needs to do is have a US representative for human resources, not in hiring but just to make sure things are going well for the employees. A "The Doctor is In" complaint department where employees can get off their shoulders what is bothering them without fear of being scorned, scoffed, or fired.



    If it is true that just about every major computer/electronic maker is having something manufactured by this company, then the stint of the US worker only needs to be a month or so...



    One or two month(s) for Apple rep, then Dell's rep, then HP's rep, then Nokia's rep, then Sony rep, etc.



    Again, these reps should just make their presence known that they are there for the welfare and benefit of the employee to be able to come and speak up when conditions warrant like massive overtime or worse, OT with no pay, no days off, no holidays off or whatever is bothering them. Even if it is "I live in Communist China!" That might not be changed but at least they can scream out the complaint and have no fear that they will be dragged away by government officials, the police, etc and sent to re-education camps.



    This BS of "sending" an investigative team to poke around is BS and accomplishes little. It's harder to pull the wool over ones eyes if they are constantly looking 24 hours a day!



    If Foxconn wants to retain the manufacturer contracts, they will be quick to change their ways if the tech world banded together and spoke with one voice. Will it end suicides? Not all, but hopefully reduce them a bit. I know Foxconn is a big company, what, over 800,000 employees and statistically it has less suicides then 800,000 average everyday people in China, but really, what is the suicide rate at IBM? IBM vs similar population size outside IBM of everyday citizens? Or replace IBM with the major corporation of your choice... Ford, American Airlines, etc.



    Something needs to happen! The cycle needs to be broken! "Plug the damn hole!"

    /

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  • Reply 8 of 88
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    iPhone would cost 1199 $ then. There is a reason why most manufacturing work is done in China and BPO/IT outsourcing goes to India.
  • Reply 9 of 88
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    Well that'll be great but that also means you'll be paying double or triple for your gadgets. I'm not just talking Apple but others as well.
  • Reply 10 of 88
    ktronixktronix Posts: 12member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    The way SJ thinks these days, perhaps they might build their own manufacturing plant here! That would be cool.



    That would be great, but I'm guessing the bottom line would make (already pricey) products even more expensive. However, as an ardent fan of American know-how and workmanship, I would love to see this as well.



    As for those poor souls at Foxconn: Immediate psychiatric help must be offered. There are so many great drugs available to help folks overcome those really dark places in life.



    Reducing the work hours or increasing breaks can help reduce the mind-numbing monotony that might drive some over the edge.



    I wonder where the idea of more money came from? Foxconn employees ought to be paid fairly of course. However, It seems that would be a somewhat minor concern to people who are troubled to the point of suicide.
  • Reply 11 of 88
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rind View Post


    While I would love to see that happen , What would an iPhone cost if it were made in the US?



    Glad that high profile companies are looking into this.

    Have to wonder what is so bad that you would kill yourself over a Job



    Yes costs here would be the issue due to wages and medical etc. but a wholly owned Apple manufacturing facility just might be able to be cost effective especially (I hate to say) if it is robotic as far as possible.



    Steve has the $s to do this ... if he wanted to.



    Better automated in the USA than slave labor in China (where everything else is made not just Apple .. and few as well I might add).



    Imagine Apple products with 'Made in The USA' stamped on them again!



    Ok I will wake up now and stop dreaming \
  • Reply 12 of 88
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    One of the odd things about a suicide is that it can have a tendency to generate more suicides; someone vulnerable to suicidal thoughts notices all the angst and attention it generates. In a sick sort of way it actually reinforces their "that'll show them" mentality. The more attention this gets inside of FoxConn, the worst the problem will be; at least in the short term. Very sad, but true.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    If the US would coerce the PRC to float the Chinese yuan against Western currencies, this option would be much more viable. The only reason that Chinese labor continues to be as competitive as it is stems from the Chinese government's manipulation of the yuan against the US$.
  • Reply 13 of 88
    801801 Posts: 271member
    Foxconn must be driving these poor folks pretty hard to have these sort of problems. At one end, the demand for ipad, and on the the other, the demands on the workers to produce.



    Bringing this production back stateside? (Then they woke up and it was all a dream) only if the products are designed for automated assembly.



    Apples award winning industrial design has one downside. Products have to be designed from the start for automated assembly. They take advantage of cheap manual labor to produce the devices they do.



    Stateside production would require much higher degree of automation to occur.
  • Reply 14 of 88
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    It's got to be on their mind. Robotics are playing more and more a roll in mfg, so the labor costs of moving to usa would be less expensive. I know a company who is coming back from china because automation improvements and doing away with shipping container expenses and extra warehouseing that was needed. In his industry he told me it just became a wash. China is not subsidizing their particular industry anymore. Very interesting.
  • Reply 15 of 88
    avidfcpavidfcp Posts: 381member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



    Probaby. I remember my wife being shocked rather receny when I mention Apple products are built in china. Even she knew it used to be American made.



    Then again what apple store employees get now compared to the store first few years, pales in comarison. Techs made 70k. Now it's 40k. Creative make about $15 an hour and specialist make ona stage, $10.50. They can never afford to buy Apple products unless they live at home. Plus back then they had commision sharing but man has cottage gotten greedy.



    Very surprised that jobs agrees and lets this happen
  • Reply 16 of 88
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 801 View Post


    Foxconn must be driving these poor folks pretty hard to have these sort of problems. At one end, the demand for ipad, and on the the other, the demands on the workers to produce.



    Facts are such funny things.



    The suicide rate at FoxConn is actually lower than the US average. It is FAR, FAR lower than the average suicide rate in China.



    See how a little perspective alters that sense of outrage?
  • Reply 17 of 88
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


    Well that'll be great but that also means you'll be paying double or triple for your gadgets. I'm not just talking Apple but others as well.



    don't forget about things like corporate taxes and health insurance and other costs beyond employee salary.



    and what about comparison to wages at other companies in the same area? or average monthly wage in the area or for all of china?



    $130 a month sounds like a pittance to me - but if the average working wage there is $20 then that is a lot by comparison.



    also keep in mind that a 20% increase in payroll for line workers does not translate into a 20% increase if the cost of each unit produced since payroll is only one component of the process.



    Another item to consider is that a factory built here might need far fewer employees and have higher levels of automation. So yes it is a financial equation and 800,000 workers at $130 a month is less expensive than 2600 workers at $3000 (or so) a month plus all the other overhead and tooling for increased automation.



    And as pointed out - Apple is not the only customer so you would not be replacing 800,000 workers.



    hmm - my random thought generator just stopped working - guess I'll come back later.
  • Reply 18 of 88
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    f Foxconn wants to retain the manufacturer contracts, they will be quick to change their ways if the tech world banded together and spoke with one voice. Will it end suicides? Not all, but hopefully reduce them a bit. I know Foxconn is a big company, what, over 800,000 employees and statistically it has less suicides then 800,000 average everyday people in China, but really, what is the suicide rate at IBM? IBM vs similar population size outside IBM of everyday citizens? Or replace IBM with the major corporation of your choice... Ford, American Airlines, etc.



    Something needs to happen! The cycle needs to be broken! "Plug the damn hole!"

    /

    /

    /



    Actually it's 400,000 workers at Foxconn, and one story said the suicide rate at Foxconn is the same as the general population in China. That was before this last one, which probably raised the rate over the national average (unless 5,000 Chinese committed suicide in the last week).



    As you say, it would be interesting to see the figures for American corporations.
  • Reply 19 of 88
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stevetim View Post


    China is not subsidizing their particular industry anymore.



    As long as China refuses to let the yuan float against the dollar, pound, and euro, they are subsidizing all manufacturing in China. No two ways about it.
  • Reply 20 of 88
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    You willing to pay an extra $100 for your iPhone?



    Money is not going to solve this problem.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post


    I've said this before, time for Apple to take the lead and move production back to the USA.



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