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Foxconn May Close Factories In China 476

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Foxconn, the manufacturer whose clients include Apple, Dell, and HP, is on the verge of pulling out of China after a spate of suicides. The CEO has accused workers of killing themselves for financial compensation, and the company has stopped suicide payments to suicide victims' families. Foxconn's CEO also told investors that it is considering moving its production operations to Taiwan, and automating many parts of its business, a move which could see 800,000 workers lose their jobs."
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Foxconn May Close Factories In China

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  • by ( 1265320 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @01:40PM (#32550976) Homepage
    You have an interesting way of listing several brands, and several products. I think you meant:
  • Re:Suicide Rates (Score:5, Informative)

    by mooingyak ( 720677 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @01:47PM (#32551024)

    First, you'd need Chinese rates rather than Canadian ones, as there are non-trivial cultural differences in play.

    Second, you'd need rates for the specific demographics that are employed at the factory, and not just ones for the population as a whole. In the US, the elderly [] have a higher rate than the population as a whole, but the elderly are less likely to be employed in a factory.

    Last, as I understand it, they've had 9 suicides at the factory, not just 9 suicides by people employed by the factory. The article isn't clear on whether Foxconn paid benefits for any suicide by an employee or just ones that happen on Foxconn property, but if it's the latter it's certainly a motivator.

  • Re:Accusations (Score:2, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @01:48PM (#32551042) Journal

    Everyone in this thread seems to be turning this TRAGIC story into a joke, and I don't get it.

    The workers weren't killing themselves for fun. They were killing themselves because Foxconn no longer allows them to take breaks. And Foxconn tells the workers they must work over 60 hours each week, even though it's technically illegal. The workers kill themselves because they are mentally & physically exhausted, and they see death as an escape. Yes it's irrational but after you work an 80 hour week, almost nonstop, let's see how irrational you become.

    Foxconn is blaming the workers, when they should be blaming themselves for tyrannically abusing their underlings. In either the EU or US these executives would already find themselves sitting in front of judge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, 2010 @01:51PM (#32551074)

    Taiwan = RoC: Republic of China
    Mainland China = PRC: People's Republic of China...

    And that doesn't even consider the eventual reunification that *both* sides desire. (although the desired terms are wildly different...)

    You really open a can of worms with that one. You're right that a significant minority want unification if differences could be resolved, but this is not a common goal. For instance, my wife is Taiwanese, and she and her family do NOT want unification. The previously elected president Chen Shui-Bian was the first president in the current government not from the Kuomintang party but from the DPP, a party that is pro-independence. Even the current president from the KMT, Ma Ying-Jeou, likely does not want unification, but rather stronger economic ties. Most Taiwanese favor the status quo-- de facto political sovereignty without severing ties with China by formally announcing independence (source []).

    So, no, the factories are not moving within China.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @01:57PM (#32551130) Journal
    I think the OP is talking about import tariffs. If the import tariffs are in the USA, moving from France to Germany wouldn't help Foxconn sell to the USA.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:09PM (#32551228)
    Excesses of unions? What are you talking about? Unions have been severely weakened ever since the late Carter/early Reagen administration. Even since Reagen the real wage of the middle and lower classes has actually *decreased*, while the entirety of US economic growth has gone into the hands of the rich.

    It was *because* of the labor unions' strength pre-1980 that increases in wealth in the US were equivalently distributed across all income groups. These last 30 years have seen an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, largely because of a stupid voting base that keeps voting down tax increases on the rich and extremely weak unions who have no real power.

  • Bogus Slashdot story (Score:4, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @04:44PM (#32552232) Homepage

    Read the original article. Gou, the CEO of Foxconn, talked at their annual meeting about moving some production to Taiwan, Vietnam, and India. It's not clear that they even intend to reduce their head count in China; that's a speculation by Oriental Daily. Foxconn has been growing rapidly, and they have too many people at one location. (Managing really huge plants is historically a headache. The maximum optimal plant size seems to be around 3,000, from modern US experience. All the economies of scale have been achieved by then. China is at an earlier stage of automation, though. The US at one time had single steel plants that employed 8,000 people with shovels. )

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @10:01PM (#32553918) Homepage Journal

    The 2050 figure only holds IF we do no reprocessing at all (currently nuclear 'waste' is 95% nuclear fuel and 5% waste), use none of the breeder technologies we have already proven, and that our current mines turn out to be the only sources on earth.

    We can freely choose to stop the first two and the third seems rather unlikely.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats