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300 Foxconn Workers Threaten Mass Suicide Over Raise

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 90 comments

Three hundred Foxconn workers threatened to jump off the roof of an Xbox 360 manufacturing plant after they didn't receive their pay.

Kotaku reports that 300 employees of a Foxconn plant in Wuhan, China, threatened to kill themselves by jumping off the roof in a mass suicide attempt. The threat took place on January 2 after the workers were denied an increase in pay.

This particular plant manufacturers the Xbox 360 console, and the uproar ignited by the raise denial actually caused production to be temporarily suspended for an undisclosed amount of time.

According to the report, the workers asked for the raise, but were flat out denied by Foxconn. Instead, they were given the option of keeping their jobs with no pay raise, or to quit and receive compensation. Most decided on the latter option, wanting out of the Foxconn environment with a little cash in their pocket.

But the agreement was supposedly terminated, and those who quit and expected money never saw a dime. So on January 2, they all headed to the factory rooftop and threatened to jump. It wasn't until 9pm the following day that they were talked into coming back down off the roof, reportedly coerced by the mayor of Wuhan himself.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has opened up an investigation, claiming that it takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously. "We have a stringent Vendor Code of Conduct that spells out our expectations, and we monitor working conditions closely on an ongoing basis and address issues as they emerge," the company said. "Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors, and to ensuring conformance with Microsoft policy."

This isn't the first time Foxconn has dealt with suicides. Back in 2010, over a dozen Foxconn employees committed suicide, forcing the company to install suicide prevention nets at some of its facilities. In addition to the Xbox 360, Foxconn builds products for Sony, Nintendo, Apple and many other well-known vendors.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    BNOVA , January 11, 2012 3:43 PM
    You can't Unless you plan not to buy any electronics at all.
  • 24 Hide
    rawful , January 11, 2012 3:43 PM
    I feel like Microsoft does not care about working conditions whatsoever, nor does Apple, nor any other company using the cheap asian labor. If they did "monitor working conditions closely" as they claim, this would have been noticed many years ago. Foxconn employees committing suicide over their horrible working conditions isn't new news.
  • 24 Hide
    DEVILVSANGEL00 , January 11, 2012 3:39 PM
    Foxconn up to its old tricks again
Other Comments
    Display all 90 comments.
  • 24 Hide
    DEVILVSANGEL00 , January 11, 2012 3:39 PM
    Foxconn up to its old tricks again
  • 21 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 11, 2012 3:39 PM
    Seems like I should avoid buying Foxconn products or products from companies that use foxconn as their manufacturer.
  • 4 Hide
    ricin , January 11, 2012 3:42 PM
    Sounds like Dell.
  • 27 Hide
    BNOVA , January 11, 2012 3:43 PM
    You can't Unless you plan not to buy any electronics at all.
  • 24 Hide
    rawful , January 11, 2012 3:43 PM
    I feel like Microsoft does not care about working conditions whatsoever, nor does Apple, nor any other company using the cheap asian labor. If they did "monitor working conditions closely" as they claim, this would have been noticed many years ago. Foxconn employees committing suicide over their horrible working conditions isn't new news.
  • 10 Hide
    toastninja17 , January 11, 2012 3:50 PM
    rawfulI feel like Microsoft does not care about working conditions whatsoever, nor does Apple, nor any other company using the cheap asian labor. If they did "monitor working conditions closely" as they claim, this would have been noticed many years ago. Foxconn employees committing suicide over their horrible working conditions isn't new news.


    Yep, just good ol' PR
  • 20 Hide
    freggo , January 11, 2012 3:51 PM
    If you have 900,000 employees all sorts of unpleasant things will happen and if you publish a 'report' on those selected incidents you can make a company look worse than they may be.

    This is not to say that the working conditions in 3rd world countries are often well below our 'current' standards !
    But think about what we did 100 years ago (kids working in mines) or even as little as 50 years ago.
    Unthinkable today for us. These countries are simply going thru the same motions that we did.

    We should not forget that we had 'separate bathrooms' as recent as the 1960s... i.e. the "Jim Crow laws" !

  • 3 Hide
    intelliclint , January 11, 2012 3:52 PM
    Foxconn is one of the largest manufactures of electronics components. Even companies like LG and Whirlpool have used their parts. You will have a hard time avoiding them, in fact you are unlikely to even know, after all they re-brand their parts. So why are we asking MS to watch a company when China government policies is just as much to blame.

    Course an Xbox all US manufacture == cost $800 but at least you know the folks building it got more than $1000 a year, and didn't have to live in the company dorms, eat at their mess hall, and work 12 to 16 hours a day.
  • 5 Hide
    hoof_hearted , January 11, 2012 3:52 PM
    Sorry, but this is the way it is there. There are thousands that would gladly take those 300's place probably even at a lower rate.
  • 1 Hide
    whiteodian , January 11, 2012 3:53 PM
    @rawful
    Of course they don't care. This is just a PR stunt.

    Hmm. I wonder if I could get enough of my co-workers to try this. Just a bluff of course. No raises in the last 3 years while the big wigs get tons of money and bonuses. HR tries to keep us content with trinkets and crap such as pins congratulating us on our good work. I'd rather they bought me a soda than give me some stupid trinket.
  • 1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , January 11, 2012 3:54 PM
    rawfulI feel like Microsoft does not care about working conditions whatsoever, nor does Apple, nor any other company using the cheap asian labor. If they did "monitor working conditions closely" as they claim, this would have been noticed many years ago. Foxconn employees committing suicide over their horrible working conditions isn't new news.

    If they'd really care about workers, they'd build their products in the USA. Outsourcing is cheap, but it still comes with a price...
  • 21 Hide
    Netherscourge , January 11, 2012 3:55 PM
    300 Foxconn workers against 100,000 Persians


    FOR CHINAAAAAAA!!!!!
  • 1 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , January 11, 2012 3:57 PM
    And people complain about the greed of American companies (I'm not saying it doesn't exist, it obviously does)?

    At least we don't get exploited like that.
    I really feel bad for those workers.
  • 8 Hide
    DXRick , January 11, 2012 4:07 PM
    Well, it is nice of Microsoft to show concern for the cheap Chinese laborers they went to China to exploit.
  • 7 Hide
    tmshdw , January 11, 2012 4:07 PM
    In the early 1900's the USA was not very different with its clothing mills, low pay, long hours, lots of child labor. But that labor force led to unions and eventually became the middle class. Sorry that China also may have to take this slow road to getting worker rights. Though humanity might have learned, but upper class greed is no different now then back then.
  • 4 Hide
    NightLight , January 11, 2012 4:07 PM
    why is this suddenly MS 's fault? You can't be responsible for a subcontractor!!
    this is foxconn's fault, exploiting their workers, no one elses.

    Netherscourge300 Foxconn workers against 100,000 PersiansFOR CHINAAAAAAA!!!!!
    sounded more like: FOR CARDASSIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
  • 7 Hide
    Anomalyx , January 11, 2012 4:11 PM
    wiyosayaSeems like I should avoid buying Foxconn products or products from companies that use foxconn as their manufacturer.

    Good luck with that. Foxconn manufactures for a disproportionately huge part of the tech industry.
  • 9 Hide
    Inferno1217 , January 11, 2012 4:20 PM
    population before mass suicide 1 billion. population after mass suicide up to 1.1 billion.
  • 9 Hide
    megahustler , January 11, 2012 4:23 PM
    Go to your boss and threaten suicide, unless you get a raise. Be sure to let me know how it turns out.
  • -2 Hide
    digiex , January 11, 2012 4:34 PM
    If only US companies are no greedy for profit, employment should not be a problem right now in the US if all US products are manufactured in the US.

    China might still be a third world country.
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