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Talk of the day -- What's wrong with Foxconn?

Talk of the day -- What's wrong with Foxconn?

Just hours after Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou led a media tour of the group's plant in Shenzhen, China Wednesday, another worker jumped to his death from a building at the factory complex.
This came after nine other workers had died and two were injured in similar jumps at the sprawling factory complex run by Gou, who concurrently serves as chairman of Foxconn's Taiwanese parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.
Foxconn's two major clients -- Apple Computer and Dell Inc. -- have expressed concern about the recent spate of suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn and are independently investigating the situation at its facilities.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue: United Daily News: China's official Xinhua News Agency reported that one of its reporters received a telephone call at 11: 32 p.m. Wednesday saying that a man was seen lying on the ground near the entrance to a dormitory at Foxconn's Longhua factory complex and that the area had been sealed off.
A Foxconn spokesman confirmed shortly afterwards that a worker had died after jumping off a building at the complex.
The incident followed on the heels of a media tour led Terry Gou earlier that day, as the string of suicides has caused international concern.
It marked the first time that the normally secretive company has opened up its factory complex to the media.
The tour came amid allegations by labor activists that Foxconn's grim working conditions cause misery for its vast work force.
During the tour, a Foxconn worker told reporters that all company employees have been asked to sign a memo promising never to hurt themselves or others in an extreme manner. The worker said he has refused to sign the so-called "no suicide" memo.
After learning of the controversial demand from management, Gou said in the evening that he had already vetoed the move and order retrieval of the memo. (May 27, 2010).
China Times: Gou bowed deeply three times at a press meeting on the recent suicides at the Foxconn factory complex.
"I am deeply saddened by it, " Gou told the 200 to 300 reporters present.
"I have not been sleeping well for more than a month, " Gou said, adding that over the past two months, he has been afraid of receiving phone calls after 11 p.m. or in the early morning.
On a volley of questions leveled at him, the usually media-shy tycoon said he didn't know how to answer. "I can only say that our management team has confidence in handling the situation, but is not fully sure to accomplish the goal," he said.
Asked whether the company is able to prevent another similar tragedy, Gou said: "I don't know for sure, I cannot guarantee it. But corporations have their responsibility. I have no excuse to dodge my responsibility." (May 27, 2010).
Liberty Times: Gou said that after 11 suicidal incidents were reported at Foxconn's Longhua factory complex, he had asked a psychologist whether the number was abormally high considering the company's workforce of 400,000, and that the expert told him that it fell in the normal range.
He also urged news media outlets to refrain from overly playing up the tragic events to affect young workers with little social experiences. After discussing with psychological experts, Gou said he belives that the company's working conditions and management measures live up or are even well above industry norms. (May 27, 2010). (By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-04-23 11:15 GMT+08:00