Foxconn chief says sorry, another worker dies

Robert Clark
27 May 2010

Hours after Foxconn chairman Terry Gou made an apology at a press conference, another worker fell to his death last night from one of the buildings at the company’s Shenzhen plant.

It was the 12th death at the sprawling facility since January and the fourth since the beginning of last week.

Apple, Dell and HP – who all contract to Foxconn – have said they will investigate conditions at the plant, Bloomberg reported.

Foxconn, owned by Taiwanese-based Hon Hai, is the world’s largest contract electronics firm, with 420,000 employees at the two Shenzhen factories.

Terry Gou flew into the southern Chinese city on his private jet Wednesday morning to front the press conference, where he bowed and apologized over the suicides.

He said he was not personally aware of an agreement the company had asked workers to sign, asking them to promise not to “harm themselves or co-workers in an extreme way,” National Business Daily said.

The contract also waives the rights of their families to seek compensation if they take their own lives, and allows the company to send them to a medical institution if they appeared to be in an "abnormal mental or physical state.”

Gou said he was not sure if the contract had been produced by the company union or the human resources department, but admitted that “the manner in which it requires workers to sign is not something that any person could accept.”

He denied the factory was a sweatshop and said it would install nets around its buildings to prevent fatal falls.

“We will leave no stone unturned and we’ll make sure to find a way to reduce these suicide tendencies,” Mr. Gou said, the NY Timesreported.

Labor activists in Hong Kong staged a protest at the Foxconn office in the city and called for a boycott of the next iPhone, Bloomberg said.

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