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Foxconn Workers Getting Raise With Apple Subsidies

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the damage-control dept.

Businesses 284

hackingbear writes "Workers at Taiwanese electronic outsourcing manufacturer Foxconn are getting a pay raise after a series of 13 suicides, including three in three consecutive days. According to an article by state-run newspaper China Daily, Apple concluded that the main cause of the suicides is low wages. (The media has also attributed the suicides to a variety of other factors — everything from the semi-military style of management, to long overtime, to China's one-child policy, and Foxconn paying too much compensation to the family of suicide workers, thereby encouraging copycat suicides.) Apple plans to subsidize raises using its own products (Google translation; Chinese original here) — the first one being the iPad. This would raise the outsourcing cost from 2.3% to 3% of the iPad's sales price. The article does not say the amount of the raise per worker, but it is rumored to be about 20%, according to other Chinese news sources."

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Well this sucks!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410174)

Now Apple will jack up the price on iPads by 20%!

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (3, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410210)

Now Apple will jack up the price on iPads by 20%!

It would raise the cost to Apple by .7 percent per iPad. I think that Apple intends on eating that difference rather than passing it on to the consumer.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (-1, Troll)

siloko (1133863) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410358)

I think that Apple intends on eating that difference rather than passing it on to the consumer.

You mean they don't expect their customers to pay for suicides in their manufacturing plants? Fuck me the world's full of saints!

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (3, Insightful)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410444)

It's not Apple's plant, it's Foxconn's. I like how everyone is blaming Apple first for the suicides caused by another company and then when they try and fix a problem they didn't cause, people blast them for that too.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410516)

Why should we let Apple (or any other company) abdicate responsibility for their supply chain? If Apple chooses to work with Foxconn, then Apple is on the hook for ensuring Foxconn is a reputable and humane supplier.

Or is it okay to let a company like Apple accrue the benefits of outsourcing (i.e. lower prices, more flexible manufacturing, etc.) while ignoring negative consequences (i.e. environmental damage, inhumane working conditions, etc.)?

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410602)

Well you look like an Apple-hater by only mentioning Apple and none of the other manufacturing companies that use Foxconn. Come on give us another post that is fair and unbiased - list the other manufacturers using Foxconn and what they're doing to prevent needless loss of life.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410690)

Apple (or any other company)

Care to try again genius?

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410976)

Well you look like an Apple-hater by only mentioning Apple and none of the other manufacturing companies that use Foxconn.

Well I guess it's because this story is about Apple and its manufacturing business at Foxconn. There's nothing necessarily wrong with being a Fanboy, but when it devolves into cheap Trolls and pathetic Flamebait then you aren't doing Apple a favour.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (3, Insightful)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411014)

Why should we let Apple (or any other company) abdicate responsibility for their supply chain?

I'm not saying we should. It's just disingenuous to call it "Apple's plant" which I've seen repeated over and over again. Lots of companies contract Foxconn and Apple seems to be the only one trying to fix the problem so why are they the one being singled out for criticism.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411138)

You do realize pretty much every computer on the planet has components from Foxconn in it ... right?

I guaranty you that the computer you used to post has components they make in it.

Unless you plan on no longer using a car, your PC, probably your TV and several other devices, you won't be doing a damn thing to 'stop the problem'.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (2, Informative)

waltmarkers (319528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411142)

Here OP, let me make an analogy to explain why Apple is not entirely responsible, only partially, for Foxconn.

Why should we let the OP (or any other poster) abdicate responsibility for their supply chain? If OP chooses to work with a grocery store, then OP is on the hook for ensuring the grocery store is a reputable and humane supplier.

Or is it okay to let a poster like OP accrue the benefits of outsourcing (i.e. not having to have a farm or barter with farmers directly) while ignoring negative consequences (i.e. environmental damage, inhumane working conditions, etc.)?

See how silly that sounds? Now, in reality responsibility scales proportionally to percentage of gross sales you make up for your supplier. OP to his grocery is a many to one relationship, giving him little responsibility. Apple to Foxconn is a few to one relationship, giving apple more, but not total responsibility. However, when a supplier has only one customer, that customer has total responsibility.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411314)

Isn't the suicide rate for FoxConn employees somewhat less than the population of China as a whole?

Getting a job at FoxConn would actually reduce your tendency to commit suicide.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411412)

``Why should we let Apple (or any other company) abdicate responsibility for their supply chain?''

Well, I see it like this: Apple (or any other company) wants something manufactured. So they approach some manufacturers to make them an offer. Foxconn (or any other bidder) says "We can do it for so and so much." Among all the bidders, Foxconn has the most attractive offer, and Apple believes they will be able to make good on it, so they sign the deal.

Is that all there is to it? Well, pretty much yes. If Apple didn't trust Foxconn enough, they probably wouldn't sign the deal. This trust can cover anything from fear that Foxconn might go belly up before having delivered, to causing negative press for Apple. In the end, there is no real way for Apple to be certain that such events will happen, or will not happen, if they sign the deal with any of the bidders. The best they can do is make a risk assessment, pick the winner of the bid, encourage them to do the right thing, work with them to help them do the right thing, and help fix things if things still go wrong. And it seems to me that this is exactly what they are doing.

``If Apple chooses to work with Foxconn, then Apple is on the hook for ensuring Foxconn is a reputable and humane supplier.''

I think that's debatable. Certainly, you may _like_ Apple to try its best to ensure that every supplier they work with is reputable and humane. And maybe they are doing that. They are, after all, paying extra to support the plan to curb the suicides. But even if Apple do their best, there is only so much they can do. They don't control Foxconn, and, last I checked, Apple didn't have a standing army or a special ops unit that could force Foxconn to do what Apple would like them to do. So it's really Foxconn that has to fix things - Apple can only encourage them, help them, and, if that fails, walk away from Foxconn and distance themselves from Foxconn's practices should Foxconn not clean up its act. So I really thing "ensuring" is too strong. Apple can't do that, so it's unreasonable to expect that of them.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (0)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410574)

It is Apple's fault: They're the ones that hired Foxconn.

If I'm building a house, and my general contractor hires a subcontractor to install the flooring and they do a lousy fucking job, I blame the contractor, not the sub.

Likewise, with Apple: If Apple is building Ipads and hires a subcontractor to put them together, and that subcontractor has unsavory conditions that foster suicidal tendancies, I blame Apple. Why? At the end of the day, it's their name on the box -- not Foxconn.

There are 3 choices. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410600)

"It's not Apple's plant, it's Foxconn's."

Wrong. Apple knows what's happening. Everywhere Apple goes, there is abuse [slashdot.org] . Apple takes advantage of people who don't understand the technical implications of the Apple designs.

There are 3 choices: Be abused by Apple. Be abused by Microsoft. Use a less finished and poorly documented OS, Linux. Yes, I know, if you have lived and breathed Linux since you were a teenager, you don't need documentation. But businesses need to have a low cost of ownership, and good documentation is important to keep costs low.

Re:There are 3 choices. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410964)

The Jobs way would be that you could only get abused by Jobs himself, but with Ballmer you can be abused by anyone (be it Ballmer himself, Windows NT kernel designer Cutler or an ISV that makes shitty apps).

Re:There are 3 choices. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411072)

I don't have any need to use any Apple OSes so cannot comment, but can you please explain to me how Microsoft documentation is better than for Linux?

No, Linux documentation isn't perfect and most people hate reading man pages, I agree. But from my perspective, I'm quite "rusty" with Windows because for the past 10 years or so I've focused mostly on Linux. I don't "hate" Windows by any means but if I need to get the answer to a Linux question or a Windows one then without getting the answer from a phone call to a local expert, I need to search the web or read a book for the answer - and the process to get the answer from the web usually involves some Google searching whereupon I stumble across it.

I don't *see* a great difference in the approach for either OS, to be honest. Sure, I accept a Windows expert can probably fly around the Microsoft support site like the best of them but I haven't see too many thickly bound user manuals for the Windows products I've used in my time.

I think a lot of this "urban legend" comes from the fact that there are more people familiar with Windows than with Linux and therefore far more newbie users on Linux than Windows - but it does work both ways, believe me.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410604)

It's not Apple's plant, it's Foxconn's. I like how everyone is blaming Apple first for the suicides caused by another company and then when they try and fix a problem they didn't cause, people blast them for that too.

Here is a clue: Apple PAYS Foxconn to do their dirty work just like the CIA pays money to people to change the political regimes in places like Haiti and Guatemala. The CIA may not be guilty of anything according to YOUR theory, but they are morally culpable. Apple already said in the past that it knows what's going on at Foxconn, and admitted that they don't think anything is wrong with what the company is doing. Apple still decided to do business with Foxconn even though the rest of the world knew what was going on. Even in the U.S. Apple treats it's DIRECT employees like shit, with Steve Jobs famously spazzing out on underlings and compelling them to work long hours.

Apple Management isn't as stupid and naive as you portray them.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410610)

they try and fix a problem they didn't cause,

Apple really doing that? I hope Apple will soon be sainted so it won't be working with the devil any more.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410676)

I dunno. If I have a factory, or in this case a small city, that makes products for one company, to that companies designs and that companies security compliance rules how separate is it really? Sure Foxconn sells to anybody who pays, but the facility in question seems to be primarily an apple factory that allows apple to skirt around running it's own high tech sweatshop. Granted that's sort of the point of doing business in the PRC in the first place.

part of the problem here seems to be that this factory has 400k employees. I live in London ontario and we have 400k people, and this is, by canadian standards a decent sized place. The sheer scale of this sort of operation is mind boggling to most westerners. How does the suicide rate for their 400k employees compare to walmart, or GE or the like?

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411384)

Sure Foxconn sells to anybody who pays, but the facility in question seems to be primarily an apple factory that allows apple to skirt around running it's own high tech sweatshop

Really? Any data to back that up?

FWIW, I opened up a dell today and because of all these recent news articles just happened to notice the SATA cable has a nice big sticker on it saying "Foxconn"

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (5, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410772)

For reference, other major brands who use Foxconn [foxconn.com] include:

Intel
Dell
Zoostrom
Sony
Nintendo
Microsoft (yes, all 3 major consoles come from Foxconn, at least partially)
Motorola
Amazon Kindle
Cisco
Hewlett-Packard
ATI

Most have issued statements regarding the number of suicides at the factory. But none other than Apple, as far as I'm aware, have taken steps this large and publically towards resolving the problem.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (0, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411290)

None of them give a shit. Slavery was always the goal. We outlawed it in the US.. but not overseas.

The US Workers who demanded a modest life style, home and health care... were sold out by those companies who would rather employ slaves, then Americans because its more profitable and slaves are easy to abuse.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410982)

It's not Apple's plant, it's Foxconn's.

So then the question becomes: Why does Apple buy parts from suppliers who run sweatshops?

Any company the size of Apple knows exactly what's going on at the factories of their major suppliers. I guarantee that the contract that Apple has with Foxconn specifies all sorts of things that have very little to do with the specifications of the part supplied. Very often a company like Apple will enter into a contract and then tell the contractor "You're going to have to cut prices by another 20% or we're tearing up the contract and good luck suing us, and you're just going to have to figure out a way to do it." Wal-mart is famous for these kind of tactics, squeezing suppliers who then turn around and squeeze their employees.

If there are bad conditions at one of Apple's major suppliers' facilities, those conditions are being tacitly approved by Apple. Anybody here who has entered into a contractual relationship to supply a major part of another companies product knows exactly how specific those contracts can get. If Apple has decided to "subsidize" pay raises for Foxconn employees, it's because they know exactly how dirty their own hands are in this matter.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411368)

At the profit margins Apple runs, they could probably afford to manufacture the iPad here in the USA in a prexisting plant under contract. One of the (many) reasons why they probably don't do this is because we don't have the kind of manufacturing plants here in the US with the capacity to handle those kinds of volumes.

Re:Well this sucks!!!! (2)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411240)

Apple could have chosen a company that has 1st world labor laws.

Lets not kid ourselves here - the only reason they outsource all this crap to China (or name your own low wage destination) is because it provides a greater profit return. It has little to do with how much something costs. Make no mistake - one of the reasons Apple is worth more as a company even though they ship less than their competitors is because they have very high profit margins.

Cue in fucktard sopssa trolling in 3, 2, 1, ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410178)

Sopssa is a troll. Remember it moderators.

For the love of money... (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410196)

...is the root of all evil."

Shame on you Apple and all your fanbois.

We can only hope... (5, Funny)

deathcow (455995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410204)

That enough of their souls are still poured into these incredible, sleek products to maintain the extremely high level of magic and wonder we've become accustomed to finding in each amazingly designed box.

Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410208)

Because despite the fact that FoxConn make stuff for all sorts of people in the consumer electronics world, all the bile and invective seems to fall on Apple's shoulders.

No doubt, Apple actually trying to help will be seen negatively too - let's see if any of the subsequent comments say so (my money's on yes...). Honestly, the anyone-but-apple brigade make the fanboys look calm, collected, and sane.

Simon

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410232)

It's only because apple charges 2-3x as much as their next closest competitor. That means they should be paying at least 10 percent more to their workers :D

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (2)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410434)


It's only because apple charges 2-3x as much as their next closest competitor

Where can I get a work-alike iPad clone that costs me only 33.3%-50% the price of a real iPad?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410584)

Linux based netbooks can do all the same stuff* (and much more) for literally half the price, even with a similar sized SSD. Jus' sayin.

* apart from the Wii-mote style antics, but honestly, who actually cares? Tilting your whole screen around while playing a game is an awful concept.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410798)

In a 1.5 lb package? With a similar software investment in making the experience one of anything other than sheer pain?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410878)

if you actually like the iPad....you are sub-human and a detriment to our species.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410238)

Exactly! These people were building products for Dell too (among other well-known computer companies). Wonder if we'll see Dell step up to the plate and offer a larger percentage of their profits to these folks as a pay increase? (I'm betting not.)

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410544)

Dell isn't gouging their customers. In reality, for the premium price that Apple charges, they should be manufacturing their products in a western country with some decent labor laws.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410800)

Troll? Wow, the Apple fanboyism is really running rampant around here.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (2, Interesting)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410570)

I agree that Apple has been subject to unfair criticism in regard to this problem. This problem is not about Apple in particular - it is more about conditions in China in particular. For example, let's remember the huge number of Chinese miners who die every year due to unsafe conditions.

By the same token, Apple's offer to subsidize their wages is equally meaningless, though understandable given the unfair criticism they were subject too.

The changes that are needed are more fundamental.

Perhaps what we need is more companies like Google who are prepared to make real sacrifices in the name of the fundamental freedoms. What Google gave up in leaving China is enormous - just look at the investment reports.

I'm sorry that more companies didn't support Google in some way so that the whole saga could have ended better. Nokia, Apple, and MS have instead slipped rather nicely into the void left by Google. Nokia has generally had an excellent record on political issues (e.g. always having the best environmental record) so I had hoped for more from them.

As a post-script, I will slip in a little gratuitous Apple bashing (since the O.P. requested it and I have let Apple off so far). Though Apple is not to blame for what happened at Foxconn, it is interesting how Apple is starting to resemble a totalitarian state like China - with its giant bureaucracy of appstore censors who won't let bad things be said about prominent politicians or about Apple itself, and because it seems to be creating some sort of competition free zone with the iPhone/iPad (e.g. you shall only get porn from Playboy because they are the designated porn distributors).

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411264)

Can you imagine being so poor and destitute, with so little prospects for the future that taking your own life for profit seems like the best way to help your family in the long run? All the while some American is working 20 hours a week managing the manufacturing of the product from his pool overlooking some valley in California; his biggest worries is whether or not he can afford his wife buying her third convertible this week, and if he is going to be able to make it down to the yacht club this Sunday. It's sort of hard (or it should be) to take your $10 million bonus for exceeding production goals on a product that people are taking their lives over. Whoever is paying the bills to the manufacturing plant ultimately doesn't matter, some company is going to be the low-hanging fruit (pun intended) and the fact that modern asian manufacturing is actually worse than slavery is the important thing people are trying to highlight here. Plantation slaves in the deep south had it better than many asians working in factories today.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411426)

Plantation slaves in the deep south had it better than many asians working in factories today.

Careful with the heresy, there. If you suggest that slavery in America wasn't the most wretched situation that has ever existed in history, you might be tagged as a racist.

-jcr

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411428)

Can you imagine being so poor and destitute, with so little prospects for the future that taking your own life for profit seems like the best way to help your family in the long run? All the while some American is working 20 hours a week managing the manufacturing of the product from his pool overlooking some valley in California; his biggest worries is whether or not he can afford his wife buying her third convertible this week, and if he is going to be able to make it down to the yacht club this Sunday

Yes, because that's what life is like for your average silicon valley worker...

Plantation slaves in the deep south had it better than many asians working in factories today.

How so?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410250)

I'm an apple hater. Love the hardware, the software, hate the behavior.

But bravo on this, it makes me hate them a bit less. :)

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410312)

Because despite the fact that FoxConn make stuff for all sorts of people in the consumer electronics world, all the bile and invective seems to fall on Apple's shoulders.

Actually, four other major companies started inquiries as well. Apple seems more open about it (they perform regular audits and publish them openly), more willing to take action, and they get more press over these issues.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (3, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410350)

I blame Apple for the coming increase in suicide rates at competing factories.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410354)

Apple-haters in 3,2,1,...

You called?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410362)

More important than the fact that Foxconn makes electronics for just about everyone, is that these suicides aren't statistically surprising. I don't have the numbers, but I recall some commenters on previous Slashdot stories working through the math - basically, the factory employs tens of thousands (?) of workers, and China already has a high suicide rate. The suicide rate in this factory, per capita, was actually *lower* than China as a whole.

I believe there were seven or eight suicides when that other article appeared on Slashdot. Now with 14 the factory's suicide rate is probably on par with China as a whole. Wake me up when we've got 40 or 60 suicides.

Oh, and presumably the outrage comes from the fact that our corporations are profiting from the despair of mistreated factory workers. To that I say - NO SHIT. Is there anyone who thought these Chinese factories *weren't* sweatshops that mistreat workers?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410426)

I just have to wonder, how many Americans commit suicide every year because they can't get a job, and how might we solve such a problem?

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410616)

Sounds to me like the problem solves itself!

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410474)

Because despite the fact that FoxConn make stuff for all sorts of people in the consumer electronics world, all the bile and invective seems to fall on Apple's shoulders.

Probably because Apple products are 2-3x more expensive than those of their competitors. It's well-known that Apple's profit margins are extremely high compared to their competitors, and that makes people think that perhaps Apple is a bit greedy.

I'm not saying it's deserved or anything like that, but I can definitely see why people think that way.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410858)

Apple invests heavily in marketing. The focus of their marketing is that they are a different company, and they target leftish artist, hipster types. They don't portray themselves as being far different from other companies interested only in the bottom dollar. We aren't surprised when a large company like Dell does business with a large factory in China that is plagued by suicides. We are surprised, not the /. crowd but consumers and their target base in general, that Apple is there, too. That's what makes the difference.

If Tiger Woods had portrayed himself and marketed himself as the "Bad Boy, Rockstar" of golf, the press related to his affairs would have been different. Because he had branded himself as the good, loving husband and a stand-up role model for children, the press latched onto it more because fo the hypocrisy.

Same with Apple.

Re:Apple-haters in 3,2,1,... (5, Informative)

mooglez (795643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411190)

Because despite the fact that FoxConn make stuff for all sorts of people in the consumer electronics world, all the bile and invective seems to fall on Apple's shoulders.

No doubt, Apple actually trying to help will be seen negatively too - let's see if any of the subsequent comments say so (my money's on yes...). Honestly, the anyone-but-apple brigade make the fanboys look calm, collected, and sane.

Simon

In Finland, all these Foxconn suicides have been reported as happening at a "Nokia contractor", no word of Apple in any of the news posts.

The dark, Satanic mills of Apple (4, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410228)

Re:The dark, Satanic mills of Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411260)

Um, not so sure about Apple's expendable supply of labor anymore... check the headline [google.com] (courtesy of Google's "great" Englese translation)

Looks like the whole company is gone ! ;)

What about.. (4, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410266)

The other companies that are getting their components from Foxconn? Are they doing anything?

How about Foxconn itself? (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410338)

Foxconn also sells branded mainboards of their own, etc. How about they just increase the pay at their factories, and up prices a buck or two? Two bucks means nothing to me, if they want to pass that onto the consumer I'm willing to open my wallet.

Re:How about Foxconn itself? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410558)

No you aren't.

Everyone will use someone else and Foxconn will be cease to be an option, even for you.

Re:How about Foxconn itself? (2, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410636)

Since all middlemen's shares of the price are percentage-based, raising the price two dollars at the factory probably means that the product will cost an additional $10 or more in the stores

Re:How about Foxconn itself? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410844)

Since all middlemen's shares of the price are percentage-based, raising the price two dollars at the factory probably means that the product will cost an additional $10 or more in the stores

Then lets get rid of the middlemen. This keeps getting better with every new idea!

Dang (4, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410380)

I wish my coworkers jumped off the building.

Re:Dang (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410608)

I wish my coworkers jumped off the building.

Which leads directly to even more

... long overtime ...

That strategy might not be effective.

Re:Dang (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411416)

You scored high on the empathy quiz, I can tell.

Encourage more suicides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410400)

Encourage more suicides? Yeah, I'm gonna kill myself for more pay

Re:Encourage more suicides? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410502)

You lagh but here in Shenzhen things hard. Work long days for only enouf to live and send some back to vilage to family there. Work 16 hour day at least and so tired and sleep in bunkroom with 15 other work. We know how much ipad and zune and other cost, not make us happy. we happy Apple to treat us fair!

Re:Encourage more suicides? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411442)

Apparently the 'suicide at Chinese factories' has become the new meme. I was talking to a Taiwanese friend who told me that on the news there they are talking about suicide in Taiwanese plants located in China. Apparently there the idea is that death benefits (for the remaining family members) are high enough that it is economical to kill yourself, and monetarily encouraged. This is why many life insurance policies have a 'no suicide' clause.

How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (3, Insightful)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410404)

I'm under the impression that the workers there already make relatively more than most similar jobs, and a 20% raise doesn't seem like it will make much of a life-changing difference for anyone (especially if they don't have time to spend it :P)

And just how far can money go to compensate you for hellish working conditions?

So why not give them some more breaks / shorter hours each day?

G.

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410560)

I'm under the impression that the workers there already make relatively more than most similar jobs

Yeah, they're making decent wages for the area.

And just how far can money go to compensate you for hellish working conditions?

Agreed, it would make more sense, but then we don't have all the facts. Hopefully the auditors know what they're doing. Part of the problem was the family being given ten year's pay as compensation. Imagine that in the US. It would lead to a rash of suicides as well.

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411390)

Part of the problem was the family being given ten year's pay as compensation. Imagine that in the US. It would lead to a rash of suicides as well.

Well if you could prove it was horrid work conditions that lead to the suicide the settlement would probably be more than 10 years pay for the avg american wage (isn't the value of a life deemed to be 2.6 Million?).

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (5, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410578)

ok, but why are they working massive overtime? Is it because the job requires them to ("do it or you're fired") or is it the pay that requires them to ("If I don't pick up 6 extra shifts I can't pay my rent next month").

While the 20% will not help the first case, it would make quite the impact on the second...

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411448)

Plus it pays for a game console, new computer... a night out with your wife... etc.

If you or a family member has a health problem, 20% higher wages can mean a lot.

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (0, Offtopic)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410734)

hellish working conditions

everything from the semi-military style of management,

Military troops have a certain method for dealing with officers that push the troops too hard. Of course it happens in the movies more often than real life. Probably.

I wonder if some of the "suicides" were not actually suicides and the "workers" were actually "semi-military" lead/foreman/supvr level ...

In the USA, for cultural reasons folks resolve their differences by being firearms to work, and between the physical evidence and the cameras its pretty obvious after the fact who did what. Maybe in China its more culturally traditional in those situations to test your boss's human powered flying ability or something equally hard to prove.

Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411228)

13 out of 400,000 is less than one-quarter the suicide rate in Wyoming. Wyoming must be damn evil. http://www.statemaster.com/graph/hea_sui_percap-health-suicides-per-capita

totally counterproductive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410416)

If they increase the salaries over the market, then the competition of workers for getting a job in that factory will increase, thus leading to more stress/overworking/stajanovism/burn-out/suicides... This is the kind of stupidity that unions usually advocate for. It is however very good if you have your post warranted for life, for example if you are a french functionarie (public servant). Of course, the people who are trying to get a permanent post in that factory will have a toughter live (think for example of the young residents trying to get a job in medicine, or graduate students). Ah, if only the salaries in my profession would go down...

There was a suicide prevention app for the iPad (2, Informative)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410438)

but it got rejected.

Re:There was a suicide prevention app for the iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411446)

bring back the porn!

Foxconn isn't the only place (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410476)

Honda is raising wages due to a strike. Let's hope this catches on (no, not the suicides, though I admit it's an interesting tactic).. Good to see people standing up for their rights.

Why not less hours? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410488)

I'm sure they're happy to have a bit more money but if you're working serious overtime I'd think they'd rather work fewer hours rather than some pittance of a pay rise.

By comparison (4, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410510)

I got curious as to how Foxconn's suicide rate compared to other groups. The United States' suicide rate [wikipedia.org] is 11.1 per 100,000 people. Foxconn employs somewhere around 800,000 people [economist.com] (!) which means by the end of the year, you'd expect a death count by suicide of around 90 people.

If the current rates holds, there'll be 50 more Foxconn employees alive at year's end than there will be Americans from a comparably sized city.

Re:By comparison (1, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410646)

...and that's the problem with the good old "globalAmericanisation" plague inflicting our planet - this idea that if a statistic says it's "within acceptable limits" then everything is okay and nobody needs to do anything about it.

This is why we now have things like huge interest rates and high insurance premiums - because in both cases, there is an "accepted" level of loss or fraud that nobody in the organisation does anything about, apart from making it more expensive for honest people who have to pay increased charges to cover those losses. There's *NO* concept of 100% anymore, everything is "95% of all calls answered in 10 seconds" or "kills 99.9% of all known germs"...

As long as only 90 Americans in 100,000 commits suicide, or an equivalent number of Chinese, then we can all sit back on our fat backsides because *IT'S THE NORM!"

It's pathetic really...

The problem is quantum mechanics (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411216)

It's been shown that you have an infinitesimally small but real chance of not actually existing. It's difficult to aim for 100% when the best reality itself can offer is 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999%

I blame Planck myself.
 

Re:By comparison (4, Insightful)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410688)

Nonsense. How can you compare workers with the general population?

Re:By comparison (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411182)

``How can you compare workers with the general population?''

Well, why wouldn't you? And if conditions at Foxconn are indeed supposed to increase suicide rate, wouldn't you expect the suicide rate at Foxconn to be _higher_ than in the general population? I reckon that it would be more meaningful to compare the suicide rate of Chinese Foxconn employees to the Chinese general population than to the US general population, but still - wouldn't the numbers cited by the grandparent indicate that your risk of committing suicide would be higher if you lived in the USA than if you lived in China and worked for Foxconn?

Re:By comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411242)

That just means more kudos to the reporting agencies that enabled the improvement for the workers. We are fed bullshit all day long but usually the goal is to make the rich even more rich. This tricked people into doing something actually good. I can live with that.

Now I just wished they made something up to get the USA some decent social health care.

Re:By comparison (3, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411282)

The chinese don't commit suicide because they are too busy working overtime.

Seriously, what is this pitiful statistics you are trying to use ?

There have been 13 suicides at the working place, and, to my knowledge, suicides at the working place are very rare in our western countries.
Frankly, if you work 18/7 and spend the rest of your time to sleep and eat, your life means pretty nothing after a few months. And only naive people believe that they can get rich by their work.

BTW, in France, there have been 37 suicides in 2 years in the biggest telecom company: France Telecom, mainly because the company is changing (FT is becoming a private company, and I can assure you that it means a lot more work for some people there, who are accustomed to doing nothing !).
In France, we count the suicides both at work and at home, as long as you are working for the company.

Clever businessmen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32410660)

If I were an evil genius, I would offer to pay the workers more AND pressure the other companies using Foxconn to increase wages. After driving up my competitor's costs, I would shift my manufacturing to a cheaper labor market in SE Asia. For purely ethical reasons, of course.

This is assuming they actually pay them more (0)

Myria (562655) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410698)

Who says that FoxConn is not just going to take the extra money as profit rather than give that money in the form of raises? The country is horribly corrupt at government and company levels.

Apple's just paying lip service.

I have to wonder whether the modern western world can only survive on slavery, with outsourcing being a convenient way to hide it.

Re:This is assuming they actually pay them more (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410852)

Who says that FoxConn is not just going to take the extra money as profit rather than give that money in the form of raises? The country is horribly corrupt at government and company levels.

Apple.

Apple's just paying lip service.

Apple regularly audits their suppliers, publishes those audits (even though they were dragged through the muck last time they published a yearly audit), and requires those suppliers to make changes or suffer penalties or lose Apple's business. They're one of the few companies demonstrably doing more than paying lip service.

Just giving them what they want (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410758)

By giving in, the people who committed suicide are getting exactly what they wanted, and will do this the next time they want a pay raise. Oh, wait...

Geez, 13 suicides? (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410934)

Here we can strike.
Though sometimes the police are brought in, it's hardly ever that bloody.

My wife talked to an ex Foxconn employee (2, Interesting)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#32410980)

who said they worked 12 hour shifts with no days off.

The excuses about labor supply and demand, and how the factory is an improvement over a Chinese farm, are bullshit. If it was really like that, they could cut pay in half, use 4 shifts instead of 2 (or whatever the current scheme is), and give the workers an option of working double. Or some other such improvement. As it is, its just an abuse of power. As screwed up as organized labor has been in the US, this is what happens when you don't have it at all.

And yes, Apple is culpable, and so are all of us that own products by companies who use Foxconn. When a company is making profits, and its executives are earning large salaries and bonuses, the market isn't forcing them to do what they do. They can always scale back the size of their mansions a little bit.

My maths is bad but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411046)

If the cost goes from 2.3% to 3% that's a .7% increase. Proportionally that's nearly 1/3 to keep things simple.

Given that manufacturing costs have more than just the labor component, how can it only manage a salary lift of 20% when proportionally they're giving away more (and that covers everything)?

Net loss = 0. (1)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411056)

Society is better off without suicidal people, they probably weren't trying that hard anymore anyway.

Re:Net loss = 0. (1)

Starmac (544848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411434)

Society is better off without suicidal people, they probably weren't trying that hard anymore anyway.

You'll change your tune when, not if suicide touches your family

More Effective Measures (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411080)

Personally, I am not so sure giving the workers a raise is the most efficient way for the company to prevent the suicides. I have never known anyone to commit suicide simply because they felt they weren't making enough money. The more likely culprit, I think, is high stress levels - which may be caused by having trouble making ends meet due to inadequate wages, but would surely also be related to the working environment and the workload. Rather than raising wages by 20%, I would think that, say, hiring 20% more people to lighten the load would be more effective. Probably, the suicides are caused by a combination of factors, which suggests that they are also best combated by a combination of improvements.

Apple benefits from Slavery. (4, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411258)

Nuff said.

When you outsource to foreign lands that force workers to sleep on the assembly lines, and in the factories... for 65 cents an hour, you're supporting slavery. (This is the common work condition of chinese labor)

I'm sorry. Apple wanted to cheat the economic system by not hiring Americans, because we have lives and high expenses due to the cost of living in America. Why pay Americans who only want to work and have a home and healthcare, when you can hire Chinese slaves who are easily replaced no matter how many of them commit suicide.

Fuck every corporation that sold America out.

Re:Apple benefits from Slavery. (1)

Starmac (544848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411410)

When you outsource to foreign lands that force workers to sleep on the assembly lines, and in the factories... for 65 cents an hour, you're supporting slavery. (This is the common work condition of chinese labor)

Citation please?

Re:Apple benefits from Slavery. (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411424)

I blame the lack of backbones in our governments that stops them standing up to the corporations.

I take a simplistic view that selling products or services in a country takes money out of it and employing people in the country or sponsoring sports teams, etc., puts money back into the country. Therefore our governments should take the latter from the former and apply a huge tax to the difference. If all the rich governments did this overnight together, then there's nowhere the corporations could "hide" to avoid paying the taxes that make outsourcing so expensive.

It would also mean paying more for everything because of higher local salaries but if everyone was employed there'd be more money anyway - and if the governments were extracting more taxes from the corps then they could charge us lower employment taxes.

But wait! This is the image Apple WANTS! (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411374)

Everyone thinks Apple products are to die for and this just proves it! Don't stop now Apple!

Just for the record... (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#32411392)

The suicide rate among foxconn workers is not only lower than for the population of China in general, but also lower than every US state. Every suicide is a tragic event, but I'm not buying the contention that their jobs are driving them to do it.

-jcr

Decent wages 20% raise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32411404)

You guys think 5 dollars a day or 6 dollars a day is going to make these workers suddenly be able to afford health care and better living conditions?
Why do you think a 0.7% price increase can raise their wages 20%, because they are paid waaaaay waaaay way way way way way way way way way way less than they should be. Then they deserve!!!
Fuck you, you self righteous apply pricks, you make an average of 50 dollars and hour and think paying these people a extra dollar a day is suddenly like your the most generation pricks in the universe.
The best way to improve these people's condition is to not buy these companies shit unless they pay decent wages at the factory level, rather than skim billion in profit personally each year. FUCK YOUR LOCAL CEO they are stealing from us, but mostly stealing from the people that can afford it the least.

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