Death of another Foxconn worker

3 Jun 2010

Another worker at the now-notorious Foxconn plant in southern China, which has been linked with a spate of suicides, has died following what his family claim was over-work.

According to China Labour Watch, Yan Li died at his home late last week. The human-rights activist organisation cites Yan Li’s family as saying that the Foxconn worker had been working the night shift for more than one month straight, and that he sometimes worked 24 hours non stop.

However, Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry has refuted the allegation that Yan Li had died from over-work.

Founded in 1988, Foxconn is the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer and makes most of Apple’s iPhones and iPods, as well as devices for other multinational technology firms, including Sony, Dell and Nokia.

With a young 420,000-strong workforce, who are aged mostly between 18 and 24, and with workers living and working on the same premises with on-site dormitories housed beside the offices and manufacturing plants, there have been reports of long hours, low wages and much overtime at the plant.

Foxconn workers speak out

Twenty-five Foxconn workers told China Labour Watch in interviews conducted last month that they are extremely tired and face tremendous pressure while at work.

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“We finish one step in every seven seconds, which requires us to concentrate and keep working and working. We work faster even than the machines. Every shift (10 hours), we finish 4,000 Dell computers, all the while standing up. We can accomplish these assignments through collective effort, but many of us feel worn out,” China Labour Watch quoted the workers as saying.

The workers also said that at Foxconn even workers living in the same dormitory don’t get to know each other and don’t even greet each other.

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Steve Jobs denied earlier this week that the iPhone and iPod maker Foxconn is a sweatshop.

However, he added that there appeared there were “some real issues” at Foxconn, which he said Apple was trying to understand before going in with a solution.

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