Spate of suicides at manufacturing plant leads Apple and others to look into working conditions

Tech giants investigate Foxconn factory

Apple, HP and Dell have said they are investigating conditions at Foxconn’s Shenzhen manufacturing plant, following a spate of suicides at the site.

A worker died on Wednesday after falling from a building on the site, the latest of ten similar deaths since the beginning of the year. Seven of the cases have been confirmed as suicide.

According to the Financial Times, Taiwanese TV stations have reported that another person jumped from a building at the factory, which houses and employs 300,000 people, late on Wednesday.

Apple, whose iPhones are manufactured by Foxconn, told the FT it had a team evaluating the steps the Taiwanese firm is taking “to address these tragic events” and would continue to inspect the factories.

HP similarly said it was “investigating the Foxconn practices that may be associated with these tragic events”.

Dell, slightly more vaguely, said it expected suppliers to stick to its high standards and was enforcing these standards in a variety of ways.

Foxconn said this week is will provide greater counselling and psychiatric care to workers at its Shenzhen factory. These measures will include a help hotline, and new counselling centre, team building events and is offering rewards to employees who report problem signs among co-workers.

However, the firm reportedly has asked workers to sign a form agreeing not to ask for more than legal compensation for any injuries not caused by the employer, including suicide attempts.

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