Over the past few weeks, critics have accused Foxconn of creating an insufferable working environment that has led to an ever growing number of employee suicides. Foxconn, though, is a huge company with hundreds of thousands of employees, and despite the fact that its suicide rate, as it were, is still much lower than the Chinese average, people are still outraged, want answers, and continue to speculate that something abnormal is going on out in the far east.
That said, and in light of increased media scrutiny, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou recently announced a pay raise for employees who pass a three month performance review. Whereas most workers now make about 900 yuan ($132/month), the raise will see some employees rake in 2,000 yuan ($293/month). What qualifies some workers as eligible for a review remains a mystery, but Foxconn is also planning to implement a 30% raise for employees across the board, scheduled to go into effect in July.
In the interim, some have speculated that the rash of suicides at Foxconn has less to do with company working conditions and more to do with “generous payments often made to the families of workers who kill themselves. These payments can often be as high as 100,000 yuan ($14,640), which is the equivalent of 10-years worth of salary.
The compensation program, however, is now coming to an end.
Foxconn announced today that it will no longer disburse payments out to the families of deceased employees. A recently erected poster at a Foxconn plant reportedly states, “The act is wrong. Life is precious. To prevent such tragedies, Foxconn is to cease releasing compensation other than that provided by law.”
Two weeks ago, Apple issued a statement on the string of suicides at Foxconn wherein they stated that they were taking the issue very seriously and that they would conduct their own investigation into working conditions at the plant