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.