The Foxconn suicide mess all started from job stress. Within half a year, there were 9 suicide attempts, with 7 confirmed deaths in Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China.
In order to find out what’s really going on in that factory, the Southern Weekly, described by The New York Times as China’s most influential liberal newspaper, sent an amateur reporter to slip into Foxconn’s factory to pose as a worker and the mission is to find out the truth about the suicide cluster.
The deaths of the workers in Foxconn have caused a lot of noise in the IT world. Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads are all assembled in Foxconn’s factory of China. And now, without any explanations, workers who are assembling these gadgets have gone crazy and some of them killed themselves. After the sixth suicide attempt happened in April, Southern Weekly’s amateur reporter, Liu Zhi Yi, arranged to slip into Foxconn’s factory … while another senior reporter, Yang Ji Bin, conducted interviews with the senior management. Together, they have found out the real living conditions of Foxconn workers.
Every single one of the workers is living through life like a clock. They work, they get off, they go to sleep. And the next day, they repeat the same thing again. The reporter thinks that the only way to stop this cycle is for them to end their lives.
If you are wondering if they are happy for producing Apple products, the answer is No. They are only happy on the 10th of every month, that’s the day when they get their salaries. On the 10th, the ATM machines are fully crowded with workers and their salaries start from $900 Chinese Yuan (about $130).
There’s one special agreement workers could choose to sign for before starting to work. The workers could sign a voluntary overtime working agreement so the factory is not responsible for their long hours of working. Anyway, they still have public holidays just like anyone.
Next, revolutionary and magical gadgets including iPhones and iPads are assembled by these workers and almost all devices in the market come from them. Most of the workers have no comments about the popular Apple products since they have never dreamed of owning the gadgets since their salaries are only enough to buy a knockoff version. While the gadget nerds are discussing how to spend their money on Apple’s iProducts, these workers are discussing about how to spend their money on those cheap knockoff iPhones.
This Southern Weekly reporter also had some chats with the workers during meal times. Some of them told him that they admired those workers who got sick leave approvals so they could get some rest. They also discussed their jobs to know more about the dangers. When they talked about the suicide cluster in the factory, they are speechless and some of them even made some jokes of those suicide attempts.
Moreover, the workers always dream of being rich someday. To fulfil this dream, they would use part of their salaries to buy lottery tickets. They also put their hopes on horse-racing gambling too.
Friendship is a big problem in the factory. There are some workers who do not know the names of their roommates even though they have worked together for a long time.
What’s more, the workers are superstitious in some ways. Previously, there have been some accidents like a worker having his finger cut-off during the production of devices. Now, a few workers in the factory think that the machines are cursed, so it’s dangerous for them to use the machines for their jobs. Also, one of the workers said that he constantly wanted to drop something on the floor so he could bend down to pick it up while working. Due to the long hours standing (up to 8 hours), if he had the chance to lie or squat down on the floor, it would be the most enjoyable moment during the work day. So, he could get the chance to rest.
With over 400,000 of workers in the Foxconn factory of China, it will be a mess if workers are mistreated badly. It’s definitely a pity for them to carry out mass production of iProducts while not being able to afford one. Some of them even killed themselves from the working pressure and I wish Foxconn could produce a better working environment like providing shopping malls, cinemas or karaoke to entertain them.
Destress rooms are probably not enough to fix their stress and I’m afraid it’s a silly idea since it may lead the stressed worker to kill someone else. Also, Foxconn needs to give more human rights to their workers and show more concern for them. Foxconn, please don’t treat your workers like dogs.
If Foxconn does not solve the problem, there will be more suicides. The workers definitely need beer, romance, and slightly higher pay. To put it simply, just make them happy. Let’s hope we don’t see a 10th jump… [Southern Weekly]