Wednesday, June 02, 2010


When I was in China there was a lot of discussion about what is happening at Foxconn. Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, has two factories in Guangdong province in China, one employing 450,000 people and the other 150,000. It makes components for Apple iPhones, Dell computers and Nokia mobile phones. The workforce is mainly young Chinese people (only children from the One Child Policy) from rural areas, attracted to earning a good salary in a coastal province. They earn around £90 per month and live in dormitories on the factory site. There has been a spate of suicides at the larger factory: 13 in the last 6 weeks. The workers have been complaining that the factory is a soulless place, working 12 hours a day, doing overtime to try to increase their wages, going back to the dormitory at night and often speaking to nobody.

The first measure that the company took (after 10 suicides) was to install a telephone helpline for depressed employees. It seemed to be working but then there was another death. It then gave the workers a 30% pay rise to £120 per month. There was another suicide. The Chairman, Terry Gou (see photo), came over from Taiwan to apologise to the factory and came out with the most amazing analysis of what has been happening. He said that because the company was offering such high compensation in the event of an employee's death (£20,000), some workers felt that it was worth sacrificing nearly 20 years of work in order to give their parents a large sum of cash so that they (the parents) would be able to cover their medical expenses and live the end of their lives in comfort. Therefore, he concluded, the company was now abolishing the compensation payout!


Blogger Eurodog said...

This is dark ages stuff! Unbelievable.

9:22 am  
Anonymous kinglear said...

No, actually the contract is merely incorrectly written. As far as I know, suicide is an absolute bar to an insurance payout ( could be wrong but I doubt it)
Insurance companies have stopped paying for burst pipes call out and repair for commercial properties - damage caused yes, fixing pipe no.
So I doubt they pay for suicide...

7:41 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

It's bad, ED.

That's even worse, KL!

7:53 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home