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Electronics Production | May 20, 2010

Foxconn: Suicides caused by stress?

A reporter from Chinese language newspaper Southern Weekly has worked undercover—28 days—for Foxconn to find out what is actually going on in the facility.
Foxconn workers apparently live by the clock – day in and day out. They work – they get off work – they go to sleep (repeat as long as necessary). The young reporter believes that for some workers suicide becomes the only way out of this rat race.

No one seems to be happy – unless it is pay day and workers can cash in their hard earned money (starting from 900 Yuan per month). The gadgets that they produce, they cannot afford. Most of them need to work overtime to actually make a living, other Chinese media have previously reported. They can sign a contract agreeing to overtime, thus unshackling Foxconn from any responsibility in that respect altogether.

The Southern Weekly reporter also stated that workers on sick leave were ‘admired’, because they could get some rest. Others – mostly young man that were unable to find a girlfriend – watch porn videos in secret internet cafés to release some of the frustration and tension. The most prominent motivation for all workers, however, is to get rich – someday soon.

Additional to that, establishing proper friendships among co-workers seem to be a serious problem. If you do the same thing every day, look the same every day – your co-workers become a spitting image of yourself. Chances are that you will not see or treat them as individuals. There are some workers who do not know the names of their roommates, the article continues. Sharing problems—as well as talking about mounting pressure—becomes seemingly impossible. Additional to that, most of Foxconn employees are migrant workers with families far away. A proper network of friends and family is clearly lacking.

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