The Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China (where many Apple products are assembled) has come under scrutiny recently as employees were committing suicide at an alarming rate. Factory management have finally taken a proactive response, offering immediate pay increases to workers. Today it was announced that additional raises would be distributed in October.
The company said in a statement this week that the increase should lessen the burden on individuals who must complete overtime hours to make ends meet financially. "While overtime work was always voluntary, this wage increase will reduce overtime work as a personal necessity for some employees and make it a personal choice for many workers."
The suicides and attempted suicides are terrible, but below China's national average. According to a Nov. 2008 study published in The Lancet medical journal, China averaged 15.05 suicide-related deaths per 100,000 people between 2000 and 2006. Foxconn employs over half a million workers, and 10 suicide-related deaths since January is fewer than the average. Of course, even one is one too many.
Last month officials brought in an exorcist to help the situation and installed nets around the building's perimeter to catch jumpers.