back to article Foxconn CEO: 'Suicides weren't our fault'

An investor meeting has heard from Foxconn's CEO that the worker suicides that plagued the company in recent years weren't the company's fault. Urging patience among investors as the Chinese giant works to reinvent itself beyond product assembly, hiring thousands of researchers and looking at everything from cloud services to …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World reports Gou as saying that while some suicides were down to monotonous work, “90 per cent” of the deaths “had to do with personal relationships or because of family disputes”.

    And of course, none of those with relationship problems were as a result of coming home in a bad mood due to yet another shitty day on the production line…

    1. big_D Silver badge

      How is that any different to any big city? 470,000 residents, what is the suicide rate in a typical western city of that size?

      I'm not making light of the conditions at Foxconn and Hon Hoi, but the numbers don't seem that high for a population of that size - in 2010 I checked it against the average for China and it was something like half the per thousand rate for the whole of China. That doesn't mean that they don't have a problem, but they seem to have fewer issues than China as a whole.

      That isn't something to brag about and it doesn't mean that they can't strive to be better, but it doesn't seem that Foxconn has more problems than other companies or the Chinese population in general.

      I've worked in large companies in the UK and there were suicides among the workers there as well.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Should we assume...

    that any signs saying that "the beatings will continue until morale improves" have been removed?

  3. FormerKowloonTonger
    Facepalm

    There are two all-dominating, and I mean ALL-dominating ALL social interactions in that part of the world:

    1. The word, "Responsibility" and who in particular is the target of the pointed fingers.

    2. The concept of "Face" and who loses it and who gains it.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    A testable claim

    "with more than 470,000 workers in Shenzen, scale alone made it inevitable that the company would have suicides among its workers"

    Let's see the math when compared to similar large scale Chinese operations.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: A testable claim

      In 2010 the suicide rate at Foxconn was much lower than the national average, when the story first broke.

  5. dan1980

    Has anyone pointed out that there is a subtle but important difference between someone committing suicide in the privacy of their own home and someone jumping out a window at work?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No chance

      The Apple haters here will just put their fingers in their ears and shout 'Nanananananan I can't hear you'.

      Seriously, nothing Foxconn (or any of the many companies it assembles kit for) can stop the posts about suicides, beatings and so called slave labor from appearing whenever the word Foxconn appears on the Internet.

    2. Nuke
      Holmes

      @dan1980

      Wrote :- "there is a subtle but important difference between someone committing suicide [at] home and someone jumping out a window at work"

      Any important difference depends on the reason, not the location. Suicides around my way, Bristol, tend to favour jumping off the Clifton suspension bridge, but I don't believe it is because the bridge itself is stresssing them out

    3. earl grey Silver badge
      FAIL

      Has anyone pointed out that there is a subtle but important difference between someone committing suicide in the privacy of their own home and someone being thrown out a window at work?

      T, FTFY

  6. David 66

    discredited

    When Foxconn suicides was the News, they had 1,000,000 employees. With that many employees, I calculated that their HR department would be statistically likely to be handling suicide instances ALL THE TIME. If they weren't, then that'd be the anomaly.

    So long ago, I can't remember the numbers.

  7. rainjay

    So let's hire high school students for an "internship" program that turns out to be a few weeks' introduction to mindnumbingly rote labour on production lines, without pay to boot. And let's cram workers in dormitories and get them to work long hours without breaks while assembling the latest iShiny.

    All great ideas, Mr. Shareholder, for making sure we hit that 10% profit growth year-on-year.

    Surely there has to be a better, more humane way of manufacting electronics?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have some ocean front property in AZ...

    ...if you believe that Foxconn's slave labor camps are acceptable. At least Samsung admits their factories are unsafe and not up to standards or good places to work. Foxconn is just in denial.

  9. Dan Paul

    Foxconn isn't in denial, they're full of crap!

    Let's see, make lots of junk, at high speed, long hours, no pay, no benefits, no rights, no time off for breaks, no communication, one day off a week if you're LUCKY and micromanagement from Hell itself.

    Sounds like the ideal working environment to blow your head off in. You couldn't do it anywhere else could you? You would not have the time or transportation to do so.

    I don't care what they are making for whom. They all need to die.

  10. L K Tucker

    Foxconn Suicides Causation

    It doesn't matter what the believed or suspected cause of a suicide was. They were and still are caused by the incorrect design of the electronics assembly lines. Foxconn uses Cubicle Level Protection in engineering offices in Korea. But they failed to understand why peripheral vision blocking protection is necessary.

    Electronics assemble line workers use the same level or mental investment as engineers in design offices.

    Assembly lines should have been designed so there is no detectable movement in workers peripheral vision. A simple pair of safety glasses with peripheral vision blocked by wide temple arms blacked out would stop the suicides.

    I reached the Foxconn investigator but he claimed he could not understand the problem engineers discovered. The suicides are still happening there and in colleges in the United States.

    Anyone with a computer at home or a child in school should be aware of Subliminal Distraction and take simple free precautions to avoid exposure.

    VisionAndPsychosis_Net

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