back to article Suicidal Foxconn workers talked down from factory roof

Scores of workers at the Foxconn factory in Wuhan, China, threatened mass suicide during a protest last week. Foxconn - which makes a good chunk of the world's tech gear - said that the dispute began after staff were told they would be transferred to another business unit due to a shift in production lines. The electronics …


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  1. Mondo the Magnificent

    Delay the release date of..

    Lemmings for XBox

  2. mad_dr


    Then this must be Apple's fault somehow, surely?

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down I wonder if the first two commentards would think it so funny if it was them and their families that were being treated like shit.
    1. Mr Young
      Thumb Up


      I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that in China if a worker dies in your factory the ultimate sanction is the death penalty? In that case it would be a good way of getting noticed while working and being treated like shit.
    2. mad_dr
      Actually, my post was a tongue-in-cheek dig at the tendency of most people on this forum in particular to immediately and mindlessly blame the ills of the world on Apple, rather than about the issue itself. Sorry if you didn't get that - perhaps you're new here.
      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Then your attempt at humour fails

        ...because it *is* Apple's fault.

        Not my problem if you don't understand that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Well, his join date is years earlier than yours; I'm guessing he's just resisted the temptation to become a dick much longer than you. Then you emphasise your personality defect by being condescending. After an incorrect statement, too - most people here actually blame the world's ill on Microsoft. You're just a big parcel of failure, aren't you?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only thing worse than any kind of fanboi is a sanctimonious commentard.

  4. DrXym Silver badge


    I reckon the chances of a mass suicide actually happening stood around 0%. It's just a stunt for the workers to seek publicity & expose Foxconn to embarrassment for their grievances and apparently its worked.
    1. Rodrigo Valenzuela

      > 0%

      I really believe is not that simple. Foxconn has a dark history when it comes to the conditions offered to their workers. Check this article: So, the possibility of a suicide, massive or otherwise, is more than 0%, based on very recent history. R
    2. nexsphil


      Yeah, bloody pisstakers. Probably be demanding the razorwire be removed from their ankles next!
  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    And all

    so you can buy a chinese made Xbox for £199 instead of a US/UK/German made one for £249 Flames ... because all our manufacturing is going up in
    1. The BigYin

      In the UK...

      ...the tax on importing the components makes manufacture impractical. It's cheaper to import the assembled box. Ask the Raspberry Pi people.
    2. Matt 95
      Thumb Down


      I strongly doubt the US/UK/German spec XBOX machines are any less FULL of Chinese parts than any other market. It's merely that the US/UK/German market will bear more markup.

      1. Joe 3

        I think...

        I think Boris the Cockroach was talking about a hypothetical XBox made in the EU, and the small (but worthwhile) extra amount of money that an XBox might cost if they were made here.

  6. Peter Simpson 1

    Hate to sound like a commie, but...

    Surely these folks deserve to make a decent living? They're working pretty hard to satisfy the West's craving for the latest fondleslabs, and the least Apple, Microsoft & Co could do is to make sure they get to share, even a little, in the profits.
    1. mark 63 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      well said Peter

      well said Peter, The comment a couple above about china xbox=£200 , Euro = £250 has got to be bollocks The 250 euro box must surely be merely assembled and taxed in europe , and still completely chock full of chinese parts made at exploitative slave labour rates. This whole western society is liveing off a) virtually free energy from a recently discovered 4 billion year old stash of fossil fuels - used up in a mere 200 years b) economicly driven Slave labour from the far east. Its not something I'm proud of!
      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        very proud

        I'm very proud of that. Id be more than happy to have all xboxes made in Europe and pay more so I didn't have to fund the welfare state with my taxes.

        Stop whining about Chinese workers and fix your own kids futures FFS!!!

    2. redhunter
      China is a communist country. So none of this should happen there since it is all about the workers. Sure Apple and Microsoft could give more of their "stash" to Foxcon, but then where would it go? If China wanted to help these people all they need to do is to stop controlling the price of their currency. This would give everyone in China instant buying power for goods and services. Unfortunately for these same workers, it would also make it more expensive to export goods and other countries could compete for Apple and Microsoft's business on a fair playing field.
      1. Chimp

        China is a communist country...

        ... my arse. Anyway, Foxconn is Taiwanese, and it's customers mostly are US based. The workers are screwed at the behest of the customers. It's got fuck all to do with currency manipulation (a game the US has taken to with a vengeance). I have no idea why you think some guys threatening to jump (they almost certainly meant it) can be conflated with currency rates... Anyway, yes, they probably would have jumped. If the Reg reporter had a clue, he would have twigged to the significance of the dates. These guys got the boota week or so before they were to receive their lunar new year bonus. This could represent up to a quarter of their annual pay, our even more. How many people do you know who can say that the lat quarter of their pay isn't spoken for? This kind of sheer nastiness is typical of Taiwanese/US corporations in China. Few typos in this... Mobile interface makes it tricky to correct them.
  7. ratfox

    Major of Wuhan?

    Is that a military organization?
    1. oddie
      Trollface last thing I heard it was a clan
      1. Kharkov

        Mayor of Wuhan?

        Isn't that a rank on World of Warcraft?
  8. TheOtherHobbbes


    "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." Of course.
    1. kirovs
      As long as it does not interfere with our intent to pay them as little as possible so we can reap huge profits as fast as we can.
  9. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    "Voluntary Resignation"

    The phrase implies that Chinese factory owners are in the habit of enforcing 'involuntary resignation' upon their workers. That's a nasty-sounding litle euphemism if I've ever heard one.
  10. Locky

    Now that's how to negotiate

    That's a seriously militant trade union rep they've got down there. Imagine if our public sector tried this. "Give me a pension, or I jump in the bin lorry"
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it were UK public sector workers...

      If it were UK public sector workers, I'd say 'make sure you've got plenty of lorries'.
  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it...

    I have an I'll kill myself....does that not leave the enemy laughing all the way to the bank/pub/gym? Set myself on fire. Starve myself to death. Kill myself off a roof? Wonderful logic...
    1. Knochen Brittle

      Comprehension fail?.

      er... they didn't kill themselves, just used some collective bargaining power [a.k.a. realistic threat] to raise instant political pressure to assist their employer in backing away from his cheap ploy to cheat them. Hence, the enemy lost this round. Now, back to your remedial logic ...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward "Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors..." As the contract is awarded to the lowest bidder.
  13. Pete the not so great
    Thumb Down

    How bad must it be?

    If suicide is better than working there? Sounds like Victorian England.
    1. AVee

      Of course it does.

      Of course it sounds like Victorian England, China is currently in their own industrial revolution. It will pass, just like it did in Europe, but it will probably take some time (just like it did in Europe).
      1. Keep Refrigerated

        Victorian England

        Except Victorian England was one of, if not the, worlds superpowers, whereby it got to travel the globe, dictate trade agreements, set the price of tea and other exotic goods. One thing that Victorian England didn't have was a manipulative global collective of corporations and territories with vested interests in making sure that Victorian England stayed Victorian enough for them to make significant technological advance for low cost.

        Look at the state of some parts of the Middle East. Is that really because humanity has failed to progress there, or is it because every 20 years some American President comes along and wants to bomb the shit out of the place?

        Why do 3rd world citizens earn so little and lack autonomy? Because we dictate market prices by sourcing many countries and many suppliers. We ensure our currencies are worth so much more than theirs, that it is a huge expense for them to leave their country as opposed to relatively little we pay to leave ours.

        Victorian England progressed because she did not have to compete with anyone other than herself and her own best interests.

        1. Pete the not so great

          Hence the use of words "like" and "sounds"

          Thanks for the history & economics lesson tho.

  14. Paul Bruneau

    When is FoxConn going to put a lock on those rooftop doors?!?!?

    I mean, really, how long does this particular problem take to figure out?
    1. laird cummings

      They'd then also have to vanish all theboltcutters and pry-bars, too. Better to brick the doors over - if you need roof work done, you can always hire a highlift...

  15. MrF
    Big Brother

    Not sure this got any UK airplay...
  16. CraPo

    They really should...

    lock that rooftop door
  17. Marty

    The band wagon went

    that way--------------------> all aboard.... How come, every time I read an article about foxconn there is the bandwagon of people going on about how bad working conditions and pay are at foxconn etc? After reading through the article, the protest was sparked off by workers protesting at being moved to another facility within the same campus. Now I appreciate that a foxconn campus may indeed be very large, but to threaten to jump off a roof because your workplace is going to be moved is a little extreme. The fact that some accepted a termination of employment with a months pay as severance is probably better than they would have been offered say 2 years ago. Then they would most likely have been flogged and docked a months wages for refusing to work... even if the campus was as large as a small town, say Blackpool for instance. Telling a worker that they have to move from south pier to north pier to work is not un-reasonable. Threatening to jump off Blackpool tower in protest is a little extreme. At foxconn, pay and working conditions is probably a long way off what is acceptable here in europe and the USA, but reform takes time. Its not something that can be done overnight. Here in the UK our current standards have taken since the beginning of the industrial revolution to get to where they are today, but you expect instant change of other nations. The thing that the western world needs to be careful of is that we dont push too much of our standards on other nations. It can and will cripple the industries of those nations (why do you think mass manufacturing in the UK is a thing of the past?) and manufacturing will move into other countries as it becomes cheaper to do so. Having massive industrial plants making the bulk of the worlds Hi tech kit is a bad thing anyway. Look what happened after the Japan Tsunami, or quakes in china. Manufacturing ground to a halt, prices rocketed. Because China mines the majority of the Earths Rare Minerals for hi tech manufacturing, they are in a position to dictate market prices to a point where they have the world by the short and curlies. the western world needs to get a grip on our current crappy economies, and the best way to make a start is to encourage manufacturing in our home countries. That means it has to be economically viable for Microsoft to manufacture XboX 360's for example in the countries that they are to be sold in, but with strict regulation to keep manufacturing costs competitive....
    1. laird cummings

      "...but reform takes time. Its not something that can be done overnight."

      Maybe so.

      But there's nothing like a little 'Work Action' to help that process along.

    2. Nick G

      "The fact that some accepted a termination of employment with a months pay as severance is probably better than they would have been offered say 2 years ago"

      I may have misunderstood something, but I thought the protest was because the Management reneged on the severance pay after workers had resigned...

  18. earl grey

    so what?

    "China is a communist country. So none of this should happen there since it is all about the workers."

    so-called communist countries are controlled by the same 1% to 99% as the non-communist countries. yer daft if you think otherwise.

    1. laird cummings

      Methinks you missed the irony in the above-referenced post.

  19. Chimp

    According to the Chinese news site...

    Record China... Erm... Well, #Japanese# news site... The .jp would be a bit of a giveaway, even if all that Japanese writing on It didn't tip you off.

  20. me n u

    they need a morale boost

    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

  21. John McCallum

    The real problem in China is that unless your people were living in the cities that are currently enjoying the boom times before the sixties and the Cultural Revolution you do not have the same rights as the locals do you do not have free health care you pay for it also you do not get free education for your children you pay for it and then some.This goes for all internal migrants,even if you only move a hundred miles if that distance takes you into a neighbouring district you are looked on as the scum of the earth and treated worse.

  22. anon01789

    *Suicidal Foxconn workers talked down from factory roof

    Foxconn are no differant to most UK based hotels and restaurants

  23. Terry Blay

    Whose fault is it anyway?

    "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. The operational changes that were the basis for this incident are being carried out in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations."

    If this is totally true, which I suspect it is, then the simple fact that Foxconn can drive employees to suicide, while still fully respecting their 'rights', and "in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations." - this doesn't say much about worker's rights in China.

    So what was Communism supposed to be about? If I remember Marx and 'Das Kapital' - it was not this.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sounds like China has about reached that point in capitalist development where organized labour rears its head. That should set them up for 30-odd years of reducing productivity, at least until they reach the same level of negotiated labour/conditions that the civilized world has stabilized at. I wonder where the next supply of cheap slave labour will come from?

  25. Bernard M. Orwell

    Communism != Marxism

    Stop conflating Marxism with Communism. Marx was a critic of communism, and it is this failing to understand the distinction between marxism/socialism and communism that plagues western capitalist thinking and leads to the American idea of "liberalism/socialism" being somehow evil and wrong.

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