Apple throws cash at Foxconn suicide problem

Apple, which along with other Hon Hai clients launched an independent investigation into the Shenzhen Foxconn plant, is offering a salary raise to all workers.

Apple has decided to give the workers a small cut of its profit margin, which it hopes will give workers a better standard of living and slow down the number of suicides that have taken place in the factory, which makes iPads, iPods and iPhones in Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry.

The rumoured 20 percent raise from Apple will raise the cost of labour for the iPad from 2.3 percent of the cost to 3.0 percent of the cost. However a leading professor has questioned the approach by Apple and said more research was needed by the company.

TechEye talked to Professor Xiaowei Zang, head of Chinese Studies at Sheffield University, who told us: “How does Apple know that these Chinese workers committed suicide because of low income? Has it investigated the incidents?

“If not, then money cannot solve the problem. There can be many possible reasons why these workers ended their lives, e.g., high living costs, long working hours, working environment, job insecurity, work pressure.

“It is likely that these workers committed suicide because of the combination of all these or many of these factors. Hence, it is the totality of a sweatshop factory that is responsible for the tragedies.”

More than 12 workers have thrown themselves off high buildings this year and Foxconn itself has tried to tackle this problem by putting up safety nets, calling in monks and even asking employees to sign letters promising not to kill themselves. They have even asked their staff to  agree to be institutionalised if they appeared to be in an “abnormal mental or physical state for the protection of myself and others”.

We somehow think that Apple throwing money at the situation may not help a great deal.