Foxconn has been under increasing pressure to improve working conditions after multiple suicides have taken place at its plants in China. Some claim that the harsh working conditions at the plants are the reason for the suicides. Rumors have made the rounds that Foxconn may close its Chinese plants because of wage increases made to make workers happier.
Nokia's tablet ambitions have once again reared their head, with a little more grist for the rumor mill. According to DigiTimes' sources at component manufacturers, Nokia has apparently produced "about 100 engineering samples" of a tablet device which it will be using for testing; the tablet has a 7- or 9-inch touchscreen, they believe, and is manufactured by Foxconn. The rumors follow earlier talk of a "large screen" device with OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics for gaming.
Take this with a huge grain of rumor salt, but a Chinese publication called Oriental Daily is reporting that Foxconn may be closing down its Chinese operations in the wake of all the employee suicides. We have been following this suicide story closely for a while now. Foxconn has given its workers in its Chinese facilities as much as a 66% pay increase based on performance and even Apple has cut profits to give these workers a raise.
Foxconn has been making headlines in a bad way this year with a number of its workers committing suicide. The rash of suicides has lead to investigations by Apple into work conditions and the opening of the factory to reporters to see the factory conditions for themselves.
It's a sad and tragic thing when anyone takes their own life. When a rash of suicides occurs in a single location, many start to wonder what the common link between those taking their own life is. The tragic saga of suicides at Hon Hai (Foxconn) first garnered headlines in July of 2009 when an engineer working on an iPhone prototype jumped to his death from his apartment after losing the prototype device.
Today was the middle of the week, but it didn't really feel like it until about half-way through. At least it wasn't the beginning of the week again, right? Not yet, anyway. Welcome to tonight's edition of the Daily Slash. Tonight, after the wake of the first keynote from Google's I/O, in the Best of R3, we've got a screenshot of the Motorola Cliq with a certain numbered update, and the Motorola i1 has finally launched. And then in the Dredge 'Net, LaCie has introduced a new net-connected RAID, MSI's revealed two new notebooks, and Foxconn's got a tablet that may actually rival another already on the market.
Another Foxconn employee has committed suicide, Chinese papers are reporting, though the fatality is believed to be unlinked to any prototype leaks. According to DigiTimes, the suicide was that of a female employee at the Shenzhen factory and was prompted by personal issues; however, they also claim that Terry Guo, chairman of the Foxconn Group, is bringing in an exorcist "in an attempt to put an end to the recent run of negative incidents at the plant." However, according to The Times, the company are in fact using "monks from Wutai Mountain, one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines, to pray for a positive working environment."
The working conditions of those all over the world has been a hot topic over the years, as reports are issued more often than they should be regarding underage, underpaid, and overworked employees. The trouble is, these employees are always tied to the things we buy here in the States, most notably the electronics, gadgets, and pieces of tech we employ every day (and love so much). In the case of KYE Factory, this latest report from the National Labor Committe is much like all the others: abysmal work conditions, and even worse payment plans for those that create the things that have become so integral to people's lives.
We were mildly surprised that it took so long for the first rumors of iPad shortages to circulate - as you may remember, reports flourished on Monday after Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek claimed to have heard of an "unspecified production problem" at the Hon Hai Precision (aka Foxconn) plant - and equally surprised at how quickly contrary reports have emerged. Foxconn aren't saying a thing, but component suppliers apparently reckon their parts orders are on schedule and the OEM should be on track for its original production estimates.