Suicide concern at China tech plant

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Suicide concern at China tech plant

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A series of suicides at a company that makes computer parts for iPods and mobile phones has led to questions over working conditions on Chinese production lines.

Twelve employees have tried to kill themselves this year by jumping from buildings at the Foxconn site in Shenzen. Ten of the attempts were successful.

The sprawling Foxconn business complex in Shenzen employs around 300,000 workers.

Industry analyst Hu Douxing says that Foxconn, the city authorities and higher level government officials and labour ministries are all denying responsibility and instead put the suicides down to individual psychological and mental issues.

The company, which counts Apple, Dell and Nokia among its major clients, has opened up its factory to the press, hoping to demonstrate that working conditions are adequate.

Asked by reporters about life at work, one employee said she and her colleagues were treated relatively OK and that activites were often organised for workers.

But concern persists that Chinese working hours are too demanding, especially for migrant workers who spend much time separated from their families.

Foxconn management has reportedly asked workers to sign written declarations that they will not commit suicide and instead seek counselling if they have concerns over their physical or mental state.

Apple is launching its own investigation into conditions at its supplier’s site.