Foxconn Promises 20% Wage Hike Following Suicides

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Hon Hai, the Taiwanese parent company of Foxconn, is promising a 20 percent raise to its 420,000 employees following a string of worker suicides that have brought increased scrutiny to the factory, from both the media and the American companies like HP, Dell and Apple, all of whom have products manufactured by Foxconn.

The wage hike will raise the pay from $131 to $157 a month, although it does not address the work conditions that many describe as “sweatshop-like”. HP, Nintendo, Apple and Dell all have products made by Foxconn, and all have vowed to investigate the factory conditions.

A spokesman for Hon Hai claims that the pay raise has nothing to do with the suicides, and that the wage increase had been scheduled for some time. It is unclear when the raise will take effect. Labor costs account for just 2 percent of Hon Hai’s operating costs.

“It may help the suicide situation, because we workers just need money and the financial pressure on us is great,” a Foxconn employee told MSNBC “Every little bit helps.”

The announcement of a raise follows the news that Foxconn employees were being required to sign a form that included a clause stating that the company would no longer pay anything more than the legal minimum for injuries sustained while not at work. Foxconn was rumored to be offering 100,000 yuan, or roughly $14,650 to compensate the families of those that committed suicide, something that may have encouraged some of the suicides.

So far this year, 10 employees of Foxconn have committed suicide. An 11th death was reported yesterday after a worker slit his wrists, but the man survived after receiving medical attention. At least two others have also attempted suicide but survived, and the number of unreported attempts may be higher.

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