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Foxconn Worker says, ''Life is Meaningless''

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 140 comments

Two Foxconn employees speak to Bloomberg about what it's like to work at the factory long term.

By now we've heard a lot from undercover investigators appalled by the working conditions at Foxconn. However, some people argue that the staff are either used to these kinds of conditions, glad of the job or relieved they aren't in another factory where things are much, much worse.

Bloomberg recently spoke to one Foxconn employee who says the reason for the suicides at the factory is because life there is so meaningless.

"Life is meaningless, " said Ah Wei having just come off a 12 hour shift. "Everyday, I repeat the same thing I did yesterday. We get yelled at all the time. It’s very tough around here."

Ah Wei explains how conversation is forbidden on the production line and bathroom breaks are restricted to a scheduled ten minutes every two hours. The noise from the factory has damaged his hearing and management has rejected his three requests for transfer.

Another employee says about 80 percent of the front-line production staff have to work standing up for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

"It’s hard to make friends because you aren’t allowed to chat with your colleagues during work," he said from Shenzhen Kang Ning Hospital where he was seeking treatment for insomnia. "Most of us have little education and have no skills so we have no choice but to do this kind of job. I feel no sense of achievement and I’ve become a machine."

Foxconn says it is doing everything it can to prevent the suicides, of which there have been at least ten in the last few months. Erecting nets around the buildings to prevent people from jumping, the company has also hired councilors for employees to talk to. Foxconn is also paying for the medical care for at least one employee, a girl who jumped from her fourth story dormitory in March. She was in a coma for two months and even now, her father is afraid to ask why she jumped.

Bloomberg reports that less than a day after Chairman Terry Gou opened the factory to the press and admitted he had no way of knowing if it would happen again, a 23-year-old worker jumped to his death and another was hospitalized after he slit his wrists.

Read the full report on Bloomberg.

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    kyeana , June 4, 2010 11:53 PM
    aleccj1I'm sorry, but this is kinda funny. I'm such a bad person...


    How is this even funny in the slightest???
  • 27 Hide
    atdhe , June 4, 2010 11:52 PM
    Welcome to the true world of Technology.
  • 26 Hide
    icepick314 , June 5, 2010 12:01 AM
    jakes69If I were in their situation...I would work for a few yrs save up and leave.


    I don't think you CAN save up with $160 a month wages....

    after your housing, food, and everyday necessity, you're literally going to work yourself to death....
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    atdhe , June 4, 2010 11:52 PM
    Welcome to the true world of Technology.
  • 32 Hide
    kyeana , June 4, 2010 11:53 PM
    aleccj1I'm sorry, but this is kinda funny. I'm such a bad person...


    How is this even funny in the slightest???
  • 25 Hide
    aleccj1 , June 4, 2010 11:54 PM
    kyeanaHow is this even funny in the slightest???

    Whats funny to me is that they're putting nets around the factory. Like that's going to prevent someone from killing themselves.
  • 20 Hide
    rooseveltdon , June 4, 2010 11:54 PM
    was the graphic image necessary???
  • 21 Hide
    joex444 , June 5, 2010 12:01 AM
    I'm not particularly surprised Foxconn keeps having the problem.

    As far as they're concerned, these employees are replacable. Even with some kind of family death payment or whatever expense a suicide represents to them, its way cheaper than running a factory in the US.
  • 26 Hide
    icepick314 , June 5, 2010 12:01 AM
    jakes69If I were in their situation...I would work for a few yrs save up and leave.


    I don't think you CAN save up with $160 a month wages....

    after your housing, food, and everyday necessity, you're literally going to work yourself to death....
  • 20 Hide
    aznguy0028 , June 5, 2010 12:03 AM
    I'm glad that there is so much coverage of the workers and the conditions they are working in. Hopefully that will force the company/CEO to improve such basic conditions as allowing people to talk to each other at the very least among others. So sad imo.
  • 18 Hide
    flachet , June 5, 2010 12:03 AM
    Corporate America, maximize profits anyway you can. Have your products produced in a country where OSHA doesn't exist is just one way to do it. It is all about the dividends. Ever notice that companies that are privately held rarely ship their work overseas? Those that are public traded will almost always do it if possible.
  • 21 Hide
    karenskym , June 5, 2010 12:04 AM
    I feel so bad because I love Foxconn products and knowing that so much sweat and blood went into my product brings tears to my eyes.
  • 12 Hide
    tayb , June 5, 2010 12:13 AM
    I could have done without the graphic image honestly. It is very sad to hear stuff like this coming from workers and I'm appalled to learn that these people are working 72 hours a week and still making an equivalent of $260 US per month. If the wages I read were correct these employees are making less than $1 per hour and getting paid $0 extra for overtime.

    Sadly, I think the best thing that could happen to these peoples is for them to be replaced by robots who do the same jobs. That means they would be out of an abusive job but they would still be out of a job. Until China goes through the "workers rights" revolution that the rest of the developed world has gone through, stuff like this is going to continue.
  • 15 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 5, 2010 12:13 AM
    There are plenty of other people that DON'T work at FoxConn that also say "Life is meaningless."
  • 21 Hide
    alextheawesome , June 5, 2010 12:20 AM
    Quote:
    Erecting nets around the buildings to prevent people from jumping,

    Or just let them fucking talk to each other and establish different standards.
  • 10 Hide
    kinggraves , June 5, 2010 12:22 AM
    "Ah Wei explains how conversation is forbidden on the production line and bathroom breaks are restricted to a scheduled ten minutes every two hours. The noise from the factory has damaged his hearing and management has rejected his three requests for transfer."

    Except for the hearing loss, sounds like my job, and I don't work in a sweatshop. The low pay sort of sucks, but low pay is what you get for being uneducated. Reality is that not everyone is skilled, and not everyone can make good pay.

    It's a depressing life, but it's depressing everywhere. People kill themselves daily everywhere and the unhappiness will frequently revolve around the lack of money and success. The real mystery here is why so many people have killed themselves at the same business in a short period of time. Suicide pact perhaps, but something more than lousy working conditions is happening at Foxconn.
  • 7 Hide
    rage machine , June 5, 2010 12:33 AM
    It is really sad to see what is happening to these people. I go to work and complain about my job and how I am barely paying for college, and they go to work and suffer. I really hope that more reports like this and maybe even a documentary come into light such as the Marti Gras documentary (you can look it up, its about where the beads come from)
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 5, 2010 12:39 AM
    Capitalism...for someone with enough money to buy a new shiny needless thing, someone else must work his ass off, even die because he is treated not as a human, but as a lifeless gear in the assembly line.
    It seems so far away, but it could (may) be you someday...
  • 5 Hide
    atdhe , June 5, 2010 12:53 AM
    civilized westCapitalism...for someone with enough money to buy a new shiny needless thing, someone else must work his ass off, even die because he is treated not as a human, but as a lifeless gear in the assembly line.It seems so far away, but it could (may) be you someday...


    Oh yeah, and the other systems are so much more human...

    Face it, it may not be good enough, but it's the best we currently have.
  • 7 Hide
    Dkz , June 5, 2010 1:02 AM
    Welcome to the real world! Why do you think there are no factories of this kind in the States or any other developed country in the world?
    Education, groups of employees with rights, and people who is aware of their own rights are a problem for the owner's pocket.
    Thats the reason why people is jumping, and why education is being eradicated from as many countries as possible. To keep them working and not complaining!
  • 11 Hide
    danielmastia , June 5, 2010 1:06 AM
    rooseveltdonwas the graphic image necessary???

    I think it makes it a little more real for some people.
    Things there are just as f*cked up as they can be.
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