Ten worker suicides in less than a year at a Foxconn factory that makes the parts for Apple, Dell, and HP computers are called “mass hysteria” by psychologists, according to Times Online. Foxconn houses their migrate workers in high rise dormitories near their Chinese factory and the workers are leaping to their deaths off the roof.
The latest person to take their life was a 23 year old man, he is the tenth victim. Although twelve people have attempted suicide this way, two people have survived the fall and are still alive, with ten fatalities. Three of the suicides have taken place in the last week.
Working conditions have been under investigation before, with Apple sending a team to China to in 2006 to investigate claims of inhuman treatment and abuse. The team reported the complaints were unfounded.
Apple, Dell, and HP are being urged to investigate the conditions under which their products are being manufactured. Workers stand on their feet for 12 hour shifts and bring home just over $120 dollars (American money) as a monthly paycheck. They make about $30 dollars weekly with no overtime for the long shifts.
The people that are working under these conditions are allowing us the benefits of buying computers at prices that are affordable. This is why our lap tops and computers are so inexpensive today. Is it worth the cost of human life? I do not think anyone would think it would be.
Foxconn is the biggest factory in the world and it depends upon the work orders from Apple, Dell, and HP as a large part of their business. Knowing that their have been a rash of suicides among the factory workers making these items for Apple, Dell, and HP, it should be the responsibility of these major electronic companies to start investigating the working conditions.
The poor working conditions and poor wages for the Foxconn workers is something we never think about when sitting in front of our computers. We are unaware of just what the real cost of production has been for the workers that are on the other side of the world.
If twelve people have opted for to commit suicide (10 fatalities) at the factory, there is more going on than mass hysteria as psychologist are suggesting. There has to be a root to the mass hysteria. A person that is content with their job is not going to take a plunge to their death. People usually commit suicide when they are desperate and see no other way out.
A serious suicide attempt is one that leaves very little chance of rescue, such as jumping off a high building. This is done when death looks better than living your life as you know it. If it is mass hysteria, there has to be a reason people are so despondent in the first place to join in and end their life.
The responsibility to find the problem and overseeing the solution should fall with the companies who are benefiting from the work these migrant workers are doing in this factory in China. That would be the companies that are making a profit selling these products made by the workers. It also falls to the consumer who is buying the products. If something is not done to protect the Foxconn workers, soon there will be people who cannot purchase these name brand products in good conscience. It may not be a mainstream move, but it will be enough to make a dent in the profits for these big electronic companies.
Reference: Times Online