Foxconn CEO Says, ''We Are Not a Sweatshop''

A recent undercover report revealed the hours employees work, more often than not working overtime just to make a halfway decent wage.

Report by 22-year-old Liu Zhiyi:Each employee would sign a "voluntary overtime affidavit," in order to waive the 36-hour legal limit on your monthly overtime hours. This isn't a bad thing, though, as many workers think that only factories that offer more overtime are "good factories," because "without overtime, you can hardly make a living." For the workers desperate for making money, overtime is like "a pain that can breathe:" without it, the days without money make them "suffocate;" with it, the restless work would only add more "pain" to the body, thus aging quicker. Most of the time they staunchly choose the latter, but even the right to choose such isn't available to all. Only those with the seniors' "trust," with good connections, or those in key positions, can often get to work overtime. When chatting with them, I often struggled to respond, as I felt I was ridiculously fortunate. They actually envied those who could take a leave due to work injury, while casually joking about how their station's been toxicated. When talking about their colleagues' suicidal jumps, there was often a surprisingly calm reaction, and sometimes even a banter would be made about it, as if they were all outsiders.

When the report surfaced, many people commented on how terrible it must be to work in a factory where the conditions remsemble that of a sweatshop. Foxconn CEO Guo Tai-ming yesterday released a statement to the Chinese press addressing the suicide cluster and denied that he is running a sweatshop.

"We believe that we are definitely not a sweatshop. It's very difficult to manage a manufacturing team of 800,000 something," he said, according to Engadget. "With the others around the world it adds up to almost 900,000, so there's a lot to be done every day. However, we believe that we'll soon be able to stabilize this situation."

Foxconn has hired roughly 50 councilors to help with the suicide situation. Another, more recent undercover report by three men who managed to secure jobs at Foxconn claims that employees are often verbally abused by managers and randomly deduct pay from their performance bonuses. They say Foxconn has been losing 50,000 employees per month for the last three months and that the company, so desperate to keep numbers up, has all but dropped recruitment standards (such as needing a secondary education). Now, all you need is to show them your ID.

Read more here.

  • climber
    This is not the news bite you want to have to defend against...
  • Trueno07
    Keep telling yourself that CEO.
  • polly the parrot
    Sure you aren't. And the sky isn't blue either.
  • sliem
    "without overtime, you can hardly make a living"
    That itself is wrong. Unfortunately that's just the way it is over there.
  • athreex
    Come Foxconn, you should change that slogan:

    "Advancing through Innovation"

    should change to

    "Advancing through the tears of our workers"
  • wintermint
    Wonder what will the people that offed themselves say to this...
  • pyroghozt
    Really? I was quite well under the impression that the Foxcon employees had a certain amount of work they had to do in a day and if they didn't finish they would stay till late to finish it. And if they don't manage to finish at all they are held financially responsible.

    I was also well under the impression that the people committing suicide are young people around their early 20s who are poor and just starting out.I also here there is a clause in their contract stating that they are no longer responsible for debts to the company if they commit suicide.

    I hear the reason people are committing suicide is because they are poor and don't want to pay or make their families pay because in some instances they are the sole or one of the only providers for an entire poor family.

    There are obviously a lot of cultural influences as well as the concept of shame brought on ones family for instance in this situation.

    But it does seem to me that the problem is caused by very corrupt corporate policies, stress and certain cultural issues as well.

    Somehow saying that you have x employees and can't look after all of them and that you are bringing in 50 councilors to help seems to merely be "damage control" on a situation you caused in the first place.

    You can play the "Pontius Pilate" card if you want and wash your hands claiming to be ignorant of the situation, but that doesn't bring 11 people back from their graves does it.
  • omnimodis78
    Haha - "... It's very difficult to manage a manufacturing team of 800,000 something," - - say what???? "800,000 something"? You think a CEO would be able to quote a closer-to-the-mark payroll number. Now this might not seem like a big deal to most, but the point is that obviously he isn't really all that informed about his human resources if he can't give a better number than that.
  • matt_b
    Right.....your employees just have incredibly low self-esteem for no apparent reason. Those that have passed (although acceptable in numbers by their standards), just hated their personal lives but honestly loved their jobs!
  • omnimodis78
    Jesus Lord - take a look at their "interview tips" page on their website ( - I am sure that getting an audience with Queen Elizabeth II doesn't come with such a lenghty list. I feel really bad for these poor souls, I think I would hang myself (no disrespect meant) before I even got to the interview. :s