Foxconn axes suicide compensation, relocating some production to Vietnam or Taiwan

At yesterday's annual shareholder meeting, Foxconn revealed that it'll no longer be compensating families of dead employees as a move to discourage further suicides. CEO Terry Gou reasoned by exhibiting evidence that showed the money -- an amount almost equivalent to ten years' worth of salary -- was a major motivation for the suicides. One such exhibit was a man's suicide letter that contained the following message for his parents:

" I'm going to jump off Foxconn, really leaving now, but you don't have to be sad, because Foxconn will pay a bit of money, this is all your son can repay you now."

Gou also blamed a possible "Werther Effect" created by the news coverage, which might have led to six of the twelve suicides all taking place in May. Consequently, the company will be handing over its welfare management work to the local Chinese government, as it's unable to deal with too many social responsibilities.

In the same meeting, the company made an unsurprising announcement that it's looking to relocate some manufacturing work, amid a worsened earnings forecast due to increased wages -- basic salary has gone up from ¥900 ($132) to ¥1,200 ($176), rising to as much as ¥2,000 ($293) for those who meet new performance criteria. This will involve setting up a fully automated facility in either Taiwan or Vietnam, while the existing Vietnamese plant will be receiving more orders. Chairman Samuel Chen also said that Foxconn will be working with its clients to share the load -- no further details on this, but we suspect Apple's rumored direct subsidies are part of the plan.