Foxconn Claims Dispute With Chinese Workers 'Resolved' After Mass Suicide Threat

Huffington Post UK    
First Posted: 12/01/12 16:59 Updated: 12/01/12 17:15

Foxconn Technology has said that the cause of a threatened mass suicide by some of its workers in China has now been resolved.

Reports by local media suggested on Tuesday that up to 300 workers had climbed to the top of a factory and threatened to throw themselves off in protest against unpaid settlements.

Foxconn, the largest electronics maker in the world, who are contracted by companies including Apple, Microsoft and Sony, now says that only 150 workers out of the 32,000 at its Wuhan plant were involved.

In a statement it said the dispute was resolved peacefully, but that 45 workers had resigned as a result.

Foxconn said: "The welfare of our employees is our top priority, and we are committed to ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected."

Most of the employees agreed to return to work after negotiations with local officials, but the details of the compensation agreed were not revealed.

It was previously reported that the workers involved were employed to build XBox 360s for Microsoft. The Redmond-based company told the Huffington Post UK on Wednesday that it was investigating the incident.

"Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue," a spokesperson told the Huffington Post UK.

"We have a stringent Vendor Code of Conduct that spells out our expectations, and we monitor working conditions closely on an ongoing basis and address issues as they emerge.

"Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors, and to ensuring conformance with Microsoft policy."

Foxconn, which is run by Hon Hai Hai Precision Industry of Taiwan, has been criticised in the past for subjecting workers to poor conditions and low pay, while failing to honour compensation agreements.

Foxconn factories in China have also been the scene of several suicides by workers in the past, including 14 in 2010 alone at its Shenzhen plant, after complaints of low pay and poor conditions.

The New York Times quoted one worker who participated in the Wuhan protest who said that workers were annoyed at being forced to move to Wuhan from Foxonn's larger Shenzen plant.

He told the Times that workers had been promised $450 a month in salary but in reality were paid less than a third, with no overtime.

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