If you read the news, you must have heard about the numerous suicides occurring at Foxconn. News organizations have been quick to point out that Foxconn makes components for Apple products. What they haven’t mentioned is that Foxconn is the largest producer of computer components. Foxconn supplies to Intel, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Motorola, Amazon, Cisco, and others. Yet Apple has been the only one getting negative publicity over this. They’re also the only company making an effort to figure out why the suicides are occurring. Apple has been catching trouble over their involvement because putting Apple in your headlines gets more readers than saying the other tech companies did a bad thing (again).
But back to the point of the suicides themselves; why are people doing it? There’s probably plenty of reasons that could occur anywhere, such as personal problems, and copycat suicides. Believe it or not, if a person wants to commit suicide, they may do it in a similar fashion as someone who has recently committed suicide. And while the suicide rate among Foxconn workers is lower than the national average, it still is troubling. One possible reason is that the families of Foxconn workers get a large sum of money for their lost family member. Workers, saddened by the small wage they earn, and troubled that they may not be able to support their families, may kill themselves to help their family. Although I’m sure the families would rather their loved ones than the money. To combat this, Foxconn has raised the workers wages by 30%, in hopes of deterring any further suicides.
Last night, Steve commented that Apple was looking into the issue, and that Foxconn certainly was not a sweatshop. He mentioned that it’s a large factory, but a factory. He also pointed out that the factory has restaurants and movie theaters. They also have a swimming pool, in which one of the deaths occurred. Apple should be commended on trying to improve the conditions for the workers in one of the factories in its supply chain.
Hopefully, the wage increase will end these tragedies once and for all.