Foxconn has today confirmed the death of a 23-year-old employee who fell to his death from a Foxconn company apartment. It’s believed to be the first suicide since Foxconn and Apple reached an agreement over improving conditions for its 1.2 million workers who make the world’s electronics.
Foxconn workers assemble the iPad and the iPhone, as well as the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. According to rumours online in China, authorities tried to cover up the suicide.
It’s also the first suicide since reports earlier this month when apparently as many as 1000 workers rioted at Foxconn’s Chengdu complex, the location of this week’s suicide. The riot seems to have started over declining work time that is cutting into wages. The actual number of participants is unconfirmed and could be much lower.
There were unconfirmed rumours online that Chinese police officers ordered those who witnessed this week’s suicide at the Chengdu complex to delete all photos and videos. Those who did not were allegedly threatened with arrest. Chengdu police also announced the death on its website, so if there is a cover-up, it’s not a very good one.
The photo above was one that did not get deleted and supposedly shows the 23-year-old man before he jumped to his death. It’s believed that this suicide is somehow connected to the recent riot in Chengdu.
Foxconn has been trying to improve working conditions and recently raised employee salaries by 16-25 per cent. However, there have been grumblings about fewer shifts and smaller pay packets.
In recent months, the threat of suicide has become something of a bargaining tool at Foxconn. In January, a group of Foxconn employees on the Xbox 360 line threatened to jump in a mass suicide due to a labour dispute.
Photo: Kin Cheung/AP/bianzhixin/Sina Weibo