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.
Yep, just good ol' PR
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" !
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.
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.