iPhone supplier has major suicide issues

Foxconn hands over suicide worker dormitories

Company argues suicides not work-related

Lifestyle Tech | 28 Jun 2010 :
Electronics maker Foxconn, under fire for its working practices after a string of worker suicides, will sign over management of staff dormitories at its complexes in Shenzhen, China, to other companies.

Ten suicides this year at the sprawling manufacturing base has brought intense scrutiny of Taiwan’s Hon Hai, the owner of Foxconn, which makes the iPhone and other products for Apple and also counts Dell and Hewlett-Packard among its clients.

Hon Hai had said at its shareholder meeting earlier this month that it would look for others to manage the dormitories, which house the some 450,000 mostly migrant workers from China’s poorer hinterlands that work at the plants.

Foxconn said it had agreed with two companies – Shenzhen CPM Property Management and Kaiyuan Property Management – to hand over management of 153 employee dormitories.

“Providing employees with basic necessities including a safe and convenient place to live at the work-site might have been sufficient in the past, but this arrangement no longer satisfies the needs of the young migrant workers of today,” said Terry Cheng, Foxconn’s corporate executive vice-president.

“They also want to have a life in the city in which they work,” he said.

The suicides, which the company said were not work-related but which victims’ families have blamed on tough conditions, triggered a wave of labour unrest in China as workers sought a better deal.