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Chinese iPad Factory Staff Forced To Sign 'No Suicide' Pledge

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-you-thought-your-job-was-tedious dept.

Idle 537

An anonymous reader writes "Employees at Foxconn facilities in China, used to manufacture the iPhone and iPad, were forced to sign a pledge not to commit suicide after over a dozen staff killed themselves over the last 16 months. The revelation is the latest in a series of findings about the treatment of workers at Foxconn plants, where staff often work six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime in a month, and live in dormitories that look and feel like prison blocks."

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Pffft (1, Insightful)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028636)

Good luck enforcing it.

Re:Pffft (5, Informative)

mrxak (727974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028660)

FTFA: "And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages."

So, there is some form of enforcement after all. The legality of this, I couldn't say.

Re:Pffft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028724)

FTFA: "And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages."

So, there is some form of enforcement after all. The legality of this, I couldn't say.

So I get to sign contracts that put conditions on my family in China? sweeet.

Someone please send me a contract saying that my son agrees that he owes me a million dollars! haha!

Re:Pffft (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028738)

The legality of this, I couldn't say.

I'm sure China doesn't give a fuck. If they did, requiring an employee to work 70 hours a week for $10 a day and share living space with two dozen other employees wouldn't be legal in the first place.

Re:Pffft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028762)

Wouldn't there be a privity of contract issue here? Surely you can't create an obligation for person C in an agreement between A and B.

Re:Pffft (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028870)

Story about China. Did you miss that?

All bets are off! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028880)

Remember, this is China. The deck is stacked against the common man. The courts probably would enforce a contract that would be unenforceable in Western countries.

Re:Pffft (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029098)

FTFA: "And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages."

So, there is some form of enforcement after all. The legality of this, I couldn't say.

I don't think I'm violating a NDA here, because this is a "well known" liability limiting move.

So anyone killed by, say, an overhead crane dropping a pallet on their heads, can be ruled a suicide, and they promise their family only gets legal minimum in damages. I'm only slightly tongue in cheek with the crane example, as the company would rule the victim should have been looking up, only a suicidal person would not run away as the pallet falls on them, etc. Pretty much anything other than blatant 1st deg murder with numerous witnesses would qualify.

How much legal weight something like this holds is mysterious. If it intimidates just one victims family, it certainly pays for the cost of paperwork.

Re:Pffft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029122)

That's funny, you think China cares about the legality of something. Their economy is being built upon the broken backs of workers just like those at Foxconn. As the "pledge" indicates, the only worker they don't want is a dead worker, because they can't squeeze every last dime and ounce of life out of someone they've already finished.

Re:Pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028662)

You don't know their health care technology out there. They probably just bring the worker back to life and punish them by making them keep working.

Re:Pffft (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028748)

Have you read Kevin J. Anderson's "Noir" by any chance?

Re:Pffft (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028764)

K. W. Jeter, not Anderson. My bad.

Re:Pffft (0)

NF6X (725054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028686)

If they were forced to sign it, then it was signed under duress and it's not enforceable. :)

Re:Pffft (3, Insightful)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028720)

If they were forced to sign it, then it was signed under duress and it's not enforceable. :)

In America that's true, but I have my doubts about China.

Re:Pffft (0)

NF6X (725054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028846)

Good point! I'll make sure to only violate any compulsory anti-suicide agreements that I sign in America, in order to avoid any unpleasant punishment. :D

Re:forced (4, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029158)

"Sign this Pledge not to commit suicide."
"No."
"I said, sign it! Or Else!"
"Or else what? You going to kill me for not signing a pledge that says I won't do it myself?"

this is so they can kill people and not be respons (-1, Flamebait)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028798)

this is so they can kill people and not be responsible for it. They don't kill people but they push them to do there own death. Or if some dies in a accident they can make it look like Suicide.

and they made them sign it the same way that the breaking overtime laws are voluntary by the workers and that is not counting the off the clock work they do.

Re:Pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028874)

On pain of...

Re:Pffft (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028916)

If they were smart, they would destroy large amounts of expensive equipment on their way out. That would change things very quickly. Just offing themselves is only embarrassing.

And of course this assumes they can't get a job somewhere else (because that would be the truly smart thing to do).

This entire thing makes me a little embarrassed to use an Iphone tho it is required by work. But it says that Apple is fairly evil. This should have been resolved before anyone died.

Re:Pffft (1)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029084)

Apple is evil, Dell is evil, Google is evil, Microsoft is evil....

They're all bastards really...not one of them care one lick outside of keeping their shareholders happy. And all that keeps the shareholders happy is profit & a rising stock price.

Nobody in the business world gives one shit about any of the pleebs...they're just resources to get the job done to make money to keep the shareholders happy.

Re:Pffft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029174)

The suicide rate at Foxconn is lower than in China in general. In fact, it is lower than in Italy, which has the lowest rate in Europe. As we all know, Europe is best at everything.

These Foxconn stories are pure propaganda. I go out of my way to buy electronics made there.

Re:Pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029142)

Good luck enforcing it.

Good ruck enforcing it.

There - fixed that for you.

Re:Pffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029160)

Good luck enforcing it.

Suicide must carry a severe punishment - otherwise every serf would do it.

They've got nets outside the dorms (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029172)

there's your enforcement. It's surprisingly hard to kill a human being when they don't have access to guns or tall buildings...

All I have to say is... (-1, Offtopic)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028648)

...there had better not be any stuck pixels on my new iPad. It cost a FORTUNE.

Re:All I have to say is... (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028852)

Prices are set to maximise profits based on what the market will bear; the extra cost of providing decent manufacturing conditions would have a negligible impact (if any) on end-user pricing.

What it would impact, however, is the income of the executives. We can't expect them to survive on some few hundred thousand a year pittance, can we? If the income isn't at least 50 times the national median, what would be the point in getting out of bed in the morning?

Re:All I have to say is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028964)

downmodded you as this is offtopic to the GP post (which was itself offtopic, but that's irrelevant to your own downmodding...)

Re:All I have to say is... (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029100)

Prices are set to maximise profits based on what the market will bear; the extra cost of providing decent manufacturing conditions would have a negligible impact (if any) on end-user pricing.

The impact depends on how much of a commodity it is. If manufacturers of competing products use the same low cost techniques for producing their goods, this will bring the prices down due to, well, competition.

That'll show them (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028674)

Yeah, they better not kill themselves OR ELSE!

Right... (0, Redundant)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028678)

And the consequences of breaking the pledge would be ...?

Re:Right... (3)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028700)

Their families losing the right to sue Foxconn for shitloads of money.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028772)

Their families losing the right to sue Foxconn for shitloads of money.

They could threaten to kill themselves if forced to sign it. If they were clever about it, they could use it as leverage to force better conditions in the work place. That is assuming it wouldn't be cheaper for Foxconn to just hire a whole new staff. Deadlines may not make that possible though for Foxconn.

Re:Right... (2)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028968)

They could threaten to kill themselves if forced to sign it. If they were clever about it, they could use it as leverage to force better conditions in the work place. That is assuming it wouldn't be cheaper for Foxconn to just hire a whole new staff. Deadlines may not make that possible though for Foxconn.

I doubt that would work.

FC Manager: Sign this pact that you won't commit suicide.
Employee: No. If you try to make me, I'll commit suicide.
FC Manager: You're fired. Get out.

FC Spokesperson: We are deeply saddened to learn that former employee #1785598 took his own life yesterday. He had a history of erratic behavior, even threatening to commit suicide at one point to his manager. In that same conversation, the manager tried to make him promise he would not take his own life, but sadly, was unable to reach him. Toodles!

Re:Right... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029124)

FC Spokesperson and Manager: Ahhhhh!

(after being shot in heart by revolting employees)

Re:Right... (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029166)

Employees: Ahhhh!

(after being shot in the neck by the Chinese army)

Re:Right... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029140)

Why, execution of course!

Ugh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028696)

See this is why I don't understand everyone bitching about the American economy being broken. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't... but one thing is for sure. We are using paid employee's to try and compete with a country that essentially uses prisoners to power there economy. Whos confused about why we are losing??

Re:Ugh (5, Informative)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028756)

We also use our huge prisoner population for all sorts of work. Telemarketing, small time manufacture, and now even some electronic components. All made by prisoners who were probably put in to jail thanks to our ridiculous "War on Drugs" and politicians who want to appear tough on crime.

Re:Ugh (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029004)

All made by prisoners who were probably put in to jail thanks to our ridiculous "War on Drugs" and politicians who want to appear tough on crime.

Without arguing that the "War on Drugs" is a good idea or in some way fair, don't you have to be at least a little stupid to get involved with drugs knowing that you could spend your days alternating between having to telemarket and being pounded in the ass as a result?

I mean, there's lots of things I'd like to do that I don't agree with the laws on, but orange jumpsuit is a terrible look for me and so I don't.

Re:Ugh (0)

maniacs blew it up (2099248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029080)

well most of them are niggers

Re:Ugh (2)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029116)

Depends on your situation. If it's between selling drugs and going hungry, I could see why people might choose the former. That's probably why you don't see a lot of white collar people selling drugs.

Re:Ugh (1, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029180)

If it's between selling drugs and going hungry, I could see why people might choose the former.

It's rarely that kind of dilemma. I mean, we could justify all sorts of crimes that way: if it's between prostituting your child and going hungry; between armed robbery and going hungry; between grand theft and going hungry...

Re:Ugh (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028766)

Nobody is confused. everybody just wants to pretend we can compete with that. We can't.

Either we have to lower standards for our workers, or they have to raise theirs.

Either solution is probably going to involve and armed revolution somewhere along the line, one way or another.

Re:Ugh (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028944)

Having put in multiple 70 hour weeks lately (and having co-workers talk about their 80 hour weeks) it seems like we are losing that battle.

But their wages are going up 20% to 100% per year. Given the very low starting bases, it will be about 8 years before it just doesn't make sense to make a lot of products there and then ship them over here.

Re:Ugh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029178)

Speak for yourself. Some of us work 40 hours a week and during that 40 hours if I am not working from home I am browsing slashdot, having a stupid debate with my coworkers, or eating something. Ahhh, being a software engineer is the shit.

Why would you be worried about the Chinese? Those sandal wearing gold-fish tenders (I know that's referring to the Japanese, but all asians are the same) are still a primitive economy, even though it is strong. Wait until their resources start running low and all their manufacturing jobs go to shit.

Re:Ugh (2)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028842)

See this is why I don't understand everyone bitching about the American economy being broken. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't... but one thing is for sure. We are using paid employee's to try and compete with a country that essentially uses prisoners to power there economy. Whos confused about why we are losing??

Who's losing? Apple? Us consumers who get lower prices thanks to exploitation of the workers?

This is global capitalism. It sure screws many of us middle class westerners a bit too, but the capitalists have migrated the working class to china and are screwing them real good.

Re:Ugh (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028892)

>>>a country that essentially uses prisoners to power their economy.

This is why I think the US and EU should block all goods coming from this company (Foxconn) and other companies that treat their employees like prisoners/paid slaves. We can't enforce human rights in China, but we can make the decision to boycott the goods, just as would boycott "blood diamond" companies.

Re:Ugh (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028988)

The problem is foxconn while notable is better than many other places because Apple is forcing them to step up. you don't hear about Acer's companies or another's because they are generally doing nothing.

Apple is forcing foxconn to step up and treat it's people better. That is why it is news.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028902)

"employee's"

This is where I stopped reading your comment.

It's shit like this, America.

Re:Ugh (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029028)

Could you remind me which country was so greedy 20 years ago that decided to use cheap Chinese labour despite that they knew these were commies treating their citizens no better than Ghaddafi now?

I recon, there were various countries, but think that there was one major source of investment.

You created this monster. Learn to live with it or do something about it - but stop whining.

Re:Ugh (2)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029030)

to power there economy. Whos confused about why we are losing??

Because some of us don't know the correct usage of "there" and "their"?

Re:Ugh (3, Insightful)

evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029036)

Pardon? Capitalism has never functioned in the history of the world without slavery. True, some countries outlawed slavery, including the US, but migrant workers and outsourcing overseas filled in the gap that slavery left behind. The American economy is only broken if you disagree with the concept of slavery. No one in the US is trying to use paid employees to try and compete with a country that uses prisoners to power their economy. It is AMERICA that is using prisoners in other countries to power ITS OWN economy . . . only because it's illegal to do so within its own borders. Don't kid yourself and think that just because it doesn't happen in your own backyard that it isn't your, or your neighbors, own fault. You wouldn't be able to post on slashdot without this slave/prisoner labor. -W

I'm sure that will work (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028702)

I bet that will work as well as that pledge to not use sarcasm I signed.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028706)

This is somehow bad? These are chinese peasants, with no future but to toil in the sunless caverns of the america's goods factories.

Hi, welcome to the Duke lacrosse team (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028708)

Now, we need you to sign this "No rape" pledge. Oh, no particular reason, just... sign it, would you.

Re:Hi, welcome to the Duke lacrosse team (4, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028804)

You mean the Duke lacrosse team which was falsely accused and then hounded by a rogue prosecutor for political reasons, who was eventually disbarred for his misconduct?

Re:Hi, welcome to the Duke lacrosse team (3, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028976)

Dear misinformed:

The Duke lacrosse team did not rape anybody. It was a false accusation and a prime example of how "presume guilt and punish immediately" is a bad idea. The falsely-accused students are now filing lawsuits for damages (like not being able to compete and reach professional level status). Plus a general level of HATE directed by professors to the students. (I always thought profs were secretly bastards at heart.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responses_to_the_2006_Duke_University_lacrosse_case#Duke_faculty_groups [wikipedia.org]

From Dilbert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028714)

"Old Zeek, we thought you were dead!"
"Well, technically, yeah. But I need the money, so I keep workin'."

Effectiveness (4, Interesting)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028728)

The vast majority of people who commit suicide are not thinking rationally at the time. No pledges, no clauses that say family members will only sue for the minimum monetary compensation allowable, will make a difference to someone not in their right mind.

Foxconn != Apple (5, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028732)

Why every time Foxconn is mentioned it is automatically associated with Apple. Foxconn manufacturers for large number of clients including Logitech and Dell. Maybe I'm just being new again?

Re:Foxconn != Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028774)

Why every time Foxconn is mentioned it is automatically associated with Apple. Foxconn manufacturers for large number of clients including Logitech and Dell. Maybe I'm just being new again?

This is Slashdot, where Apple==bad and Google==good.

Re:Foxconn != Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028962)

No it's Microsoft==bad, Google==good and AnyMentioningOfApple==trolling.

Re:Foxconn != Apple (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028828)

Perhaps the ones who work on products for Dell and Logitech don't have to sign the pledge?

After all, they don't have the pressure of building iPads--the magical device. Your Dell doesn't work? So what else is new? On the other hand, you make a mistake building an iPad and some Fanboi will cry all over the Internet. That's a lot of pressure.

On the other hand, building Dells day in and day out might cause me to consider suicide...

Re:Foxconn != Apple (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028912)

Yes, but the ones working on Apple products are also paid more than the ones working on any other product, per Apple's requirements. (not that is this excuses them being forced to work overtime, voluntarily or pressured into it etc).

Apple does have a code of conduct for its suppliers, but just how effective it is is up to the individual suppliers. Even if it was all done locally (ie, on US soil) you still face that issue - just look at the slaughterhouses and general fast food industry - the conditions at Foxconn are probably better.

Re:Foxconn != Apple (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028866)

They also make HP stuff. As to why Apple gets trumpeted out, it's because the Apple crowd also tends to be more environmentally conscious as a general rule. Corporate America, which runs on the other products, doesn't give a shit about the treatment of workers overseas, as we well know. But Apple's user base is primarily consumer. You can bet many an Apple user diligently recycles, drives a hybrid car, and eats organic vegetables. And yet they allow Apple to make their products in China and STILL charge them a premium for the brand name.

Apple also likes to sell their stuff as special (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029050)

They are very annoyed that they have to admit their products are built elsewhere. If you take a look on any device it'll always say where it was made or assembled. That is required by law. Almost all devices, that's all it says about that. However Apple stuff? Right before that they have to note "Designed in California by Apple." Reason is they want to try and deflect from the "Made in China" part. They don't want their Mac to be just another thing made in China.

Well, that makes the stories particularly juicy to the press when they relate to Apple and China. Most companies aren't bothered. They stamp the country of assembly on the box and call it good. So calling them out on it does nothing. You call out MSI on their motherboards being made in China and they'll say "Ummm yes, yes they are. Says so right on the board."

Also there's the fact that it seems Apple puts additional secrecy pressure on Foxconn and that their employees have been subject to additional restrictions and scrutiny due to Apple leaks. You don't see that with other products Foxconn makes. They don't have to keep everything super secret since companies don't put on the big show and their products are usually known well in advance of launch.

(Foxconn != Apple) != (Apple = Good Guys) (0, Flamebait)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028894)

Sorry, but Foxconn's other clients aren't as newsworthy. Logitech and Dell aren't big enough names to warrant a mention. It is not a conspiracy against your cult. And if it were, "But other companies do business with Foxconn tooooooo!" is not an excuse, m'kay? Apple does business with a company that works its slaves until they die, end of story.

Re:Foxconn != Apple (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029132)

Why every time Foxconn is mentioned it is automatically associated with Apple. Foxconn manufacturers for large number of clients including Logitech and Dell. Maybe I'm just being new again?

You're not a true Slashdotter if you don't bash Apple.... for it's Stallmanesque crime of not being "open" tech..

Profits before people (0)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028744)

From TFA:

Apple's supplier code of conduct demands that employees are treated with respect and dignity, but its own audit reports suggest suppliers in China may not meet up to these standards. The global high-tech product manufacturer made profits of $6billion ni the first quarter of 2011.

This is why I will never buy an Apple product.

Re:Profits before people (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028838)

Not saying this as an apple fanboy -- Apple is a high-profile company culturally, so it seems to me this kind of news comes out because they know it will be more inflammatory (trolling news). Do you know the working conditions of the other computer manufacturers or of the parts you bought to build your own? Are you sure they are significantly better? Do you buy them anyway? I know I have no idea.

Re:Profits before people (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029056)

So what brand do you buy that doesn't use Foxconn, or similar worker-enslaving Corporation? (Oh that's right. No such computer manufacturer exists. So you're a hypocrite who won't buy Apple but will happily buy HP or Dell or other computer that's just as bad.)

six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028778)

My current job has me doing this. 7 days of 12+ hours. And 45 OT hours each week, or 200 per month.
(jumps off roof)

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028840)

Wow, that's almost as bad as working at EA.

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028954)

Clerk 1: Two people ... three people have fallen to their almost certain death!
Clerk 2: Must be a board meeting.
Monty Python brilliancy [youtube.com]

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (1)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028982)

Now if you said, for an average wage of about $7 daily, I would have felt for you.

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029012)

My current job has me doing this. 7 days of 12+ hours. And 45 OT hours each week, or 200 per month. (jumps off roof)

What does your hourly rate work out to after overtime pay? I'll bet it's more than theirs (adjusted for local cost of living, of course).

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029114)

That's an awful lot of toilets.

Re:six 12-hour shifts a week, 98 hours of overtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029134)

Your current job has you posting on Slashdot.

Apple ipad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028780)

Slavery makes it awesome.

What a way to treat the symptoms (3, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028784)

That's akin to saying, "hey, when you kill yourself, they know we are torturing you, so please stop killing yourself".

Who's signing the "only work so many hours" pledge?

AMERICA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028792)

Im glad I live in a country where I can kill myself when I grow tired of my wage slavery! God BLESS the YOOOOUUUU ESSSSSS AAAAAYYYYY!

When i eat that bullet, at least I'll know Im free!

Won't that make it worse? (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028796)

It seems to me this provides extra motivation.

If you try to commit suicide, but fail, you're now in breach of contract and out of a job. Which means two things: If you're going to try at all, it's best to ensure it succeeds. And if you still fail you've now got an extra motivation for giving it another try.

Then there's that just signing this thing is probably harmful. Somebody could find it to be an additional motivation to commit suicide out of spite. After all, few things are more demeaning than somebody else asserting such control over your own life, and killing yourself anyway is about the biggest statement one could make about that.

Re:Won't that make it worse? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028920)

Then there's that just signing this thing is probably harmful. Somebody could find it to be an additional motivation to commit suicide out of spite.

People who commit suicide out of spite are, how do I say it, "unbalanced" ?

One belief is that Foxconn people commit suicide to earn a windfall for their family. I don't know how true or untrue this is, but such a document will remove this motivation. This can't be bad.

But of course if someone still wants to kill oneself, there isn't much that can be done to stop that. It is only possible to eliminate as many motives for such an act as possible. Unfortunately, dissatisfaction with the job can't be eliminated, unless the job is the President of the Universe (with benefits but without obligations.) Some USPS employees committed pretty elaborate suicides by "going postal", and USPS is probably the last place that you'd suspect in sweatshop-like, union-hostile practices.

Re:Won't that make it worse? (1)

Mr. Beatdown (1221940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029006)

Paging Dostoevsky [wikipedia.org] ...

"iPad" factory... troll headline (2, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028848)

As usual, especially for the Daily Hate Mail, the title is extremely misleading. It's been covered on slashdot before, but describing Foxconn as an iPad factory, or even an Apple factory is like calling Amazon a "Stephen King bookstore".

The article strongly infers that the plant *only* makes Apple stuff.

I also see no mention in the article about Apple's responses to this, with higher wages paid per employee (compared to the same employees in the same factory making Xboxes, PS3s, Nintendo Wiis, Android handsets, televisions, microwaves, etc etc), although they did talk about how little they were earning, and inspections and rules set out in a code of conduct (although, enforcing this is clearly difficult).

So, nothing really to see here - typical of Daily Mail reporting. I'm just amazed they didn't try to work in a "gay, single-parent-mother asylum seeker claiming benefits and lottery money, causing cancer" angle somehow.

Re:"iPad" factory... troll headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029062)

As long as you are just as assertive in pointing out the fanboyism and irrelevance of /.-stories about iPhone-color-changes, and purposely leaked rumors about the next iProduct causing an astroturf-shitstorm, I'm with you.

There seems to be a disproportionate amount of people waving their hands in the air shouting "but Dell and Microsoft does it too!", just saying...

Re:"iPad" factory... troll headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029168)

You're totally right. We should only be able to call it an iPad factory if it makes iPads.

Oh wait...

very old news (1)

slew (2918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028850)

Suicide nets (5, Insightful)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028860)

FTA:

Anti-suicide nets were put up around the dormitory buildings on the advice of psychologists.

If you have to put up suicide nets and make people sign contracts promising not to kill themself then you're doing it wrong.

Re:Suicide nets (4, Insightful)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028992)

If you have to put up suicide nets and make people sign contracts promising not to kill themself then you're doing it wrong.

So why are we still importing anything that this company makes?

And if China's laws can't protect workers from this company, then why are we still importing anything China makes?

Re:Suicide nets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029086)

Because it's less expensive of course.

Bravo! (1)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028864)

Way to avoid addressing the underlying problem.

Re:Bravo! (2)

The Man (684) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029070)

Way to avoid addressing the underlying problem.

It's not under their control. If they start treating their employees better, their costs will rise and they will either lose money or have to bid higher, in which case they'll lose contracts (and lose money). CM is a very competitive business, and Foxconn as a Taiwanese company is already at a disadvantage in some ways relative to mainland CMs.

There are several ways this can play itself out. The employees can unionise (which on the mainland will require overthrowing or radically reforming the government) and demand better wages across the entire industry. In that case, two things will happen. First, prices of finished goods will rise. Second, these companies will begin investing in places where unions aren't allowed (race to the bottom). Third, unemployment in places with unions will rise, encouraging the creation of non-union shops where standards are lower.

Another way this can play itself out is if the people who buy these goods start demanding verifiable standards of treatment for the people who manufacture them. This would have to be backed up with a willingness to (a) not buy products that fail to meet the standards, AND (b) pay much higher than current prices for them. This is unlikely because people in most developed countries are already living beyond their means and cannot afford to pay more.

We've seen all of this before. Some combination of these things will in fact happen, as they did in today's developed countries. Ultimately, unionised manufacturing workforces are not competitive and will die out, leaving these low-value activities to be moved to whatever country does the most to ensure that labour is cheap. This is nothing more complicated than Ricardian comparative advantage. As this happens, the more developed countries will find that their unemployed union workers' children look for higher-value work to do and shift their economy from low-value manufacturing to higher-value engineering and services. Meanwhile, those in the third phase (debt collapse) will be forced to rejuvenate their own "old economy" sectors and become more competitive with the rising economies. This will mean a diminution of lifestyle as they pay down debt and accept lower-paying jobs in which their products are competitive.

This is best viewed as a wave moving around the planet from east to west. Where the United States was in the 19th century, China is today. Where the United States is today, China will be in the 22nd century. None of this is new. None of it is surprising. It's just basic economics. While it may seem reprehensible to those of us with a recent cultural history of moral outrage with this sort of behaviour, the "robber barons" of 19th century America were no different. In time the Chinese will develop their own moral outrage for it, and put a stop to it. But doing so externally is all but impossible, because it requires fighting economics. Simply put, people will stop being treated this way when they start refusing to be treated this way even if it means not having a job. Happened before, will happen again.

The penalty for violating the pledge is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36028890)

Death.

Sucide rate? (5, Informative)

asdbffg (1902686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36028956)

The Wired article a published a month or two ago claims that the suicide rate at American colleges is higher than at Foxconn. According to Wikipedia, the suicide rate per 100,000 persons in the US is 11.1, and according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are between 8 and 25 suicide attempts for every reported suicide death. That gives us an attempted suicide rate of around 88 or 89 per 100,000 people.

Looking at the information on Foxconn in the linked article, it would appear that the attempted suicide rate is somewhere around 12 per 100,000 for the first part of 2010. That would come out to maybe 36 per 100,000 for the whole year?

Maybe the headline should be: Making iPads in a Chinese Factory Is Truly Awful, But You're Much More Likely to Kill Yourself if You go to College in the US.

Unless I'm missing something here. Also, the article appears to be pretty old.

Cause of death?: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029040)

So, the families can only claim minimum damages if it's suicide?

Look for even the most aggregious workplace injuries and deaths to be found to be suicide or attempted suicide.

"She committed suicide by walking into the freezer and then padlocking herself in from the outside."

What's the rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36029064)

If I'm reading the article correctly, there were 14 suicides in 4/3 years (16 months) from a 500,000 workers.

From Wikipedia, the suicide rate in the United States is 11.1 suicides per year per 100,000 people. Which means 11.1 * 4/3 * 5 = 74 suicides would have occured over an average US population of the same size over the same time. By the same calculations the number of people from the People's Republic of China (with 6.6/year/100,000people) to commit suicide would be 44.

I'm not saying at all that they way they are treated is right or that they're being paid enough or that it could be better. The fact that Apple and other companies would make it's items thousands of miles away from where they are consumed seems to mean something is out of balance.

But 14 suicides doesn't seem to be an alarming rate at all from the numbers I'm looking at. And it's is significantly smaller than both 44 and 74. Someone please tell me where my logic is wrong. Is the statement of 500,000 employees correct the 14 suicides came from correct? Although again Foxconn's Wikipedia article lists 920,000+ (2010) employees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_rate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

Slave Labor (1)

GruntboyX (753706) | more than 3 years ago | (#36029152)

It so bothers me to see the level of work conditions that these people endure. Sent from my Ipad
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