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.