.There is definitely something fishy going on if your employees keep committing suicide. Last Tuesday, Li Hai was the tenth worker at the Chinese plant of Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology to fall to his death from a building, according to the AP. Li Hai was only 19 when he fell to his death from one of the buildings at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant. There were two other workers at the Shenzhen factory who attempted to kill themselves the same way, but fortunately survived the fall. Three days before Li Hai committed suicide, another man at the same plant had jumped to his death.
Accusations of abuse and horrendous working conditions are being thrown around, but the world’s largest contractor of electronic products says they are not running a “sweatshop.” Still, controversy surrounding the company soared last August after a video of 20 Foxconn guards beating up two employees went viral on the internet.
But the problem goes beyond just one firm – in fact, the culture of the whole manufacturing industry is at fault. An undercover report by an investigative reporter revealed that the Shenzhen plant had relatively superior facilities compared to other Chinese factories and attributed the workers’ despair to “the fate of a generation of workers.” These Foxconn employees build the shiny gadgets (iPhone, iPad as well as products from Nokia and HP, etc.) that we fidget with daily. While our standards of living have improved through the convenience these tech tools provide, the workers who toil over them work in an environment so terrible that it fosters numerous suicides.