Reports have been pouring in for years about the inhumane conditions of workers in China, and Foxconn, the primary manufacturer for many of Apple’s products, has been foremost in the list of such exploitative companies, with astonishing stories that are almost as bad as slave labour stories from a time when we considered man to be a little less civilized.
While suicides at Foxconn are nothing new to report, the latest news circulating around the web points towards a rather incredible new way to deal with the situation – a mandatory no suicide pledge for workers in the more-than-bustling iPad and iPhone factories. Why yes, if your workers are killing themselves, go ahead, and remove their last resort. It certainly has to be the solution of the century, the most impractical means to an end of no more ends, no surcease.
How this can ever be enforced is of course a practical question that has an obvious answer – where there is a will, even to die, there is a way. But Foxconn can’t be blamed for not trying, the pledge makes workers promise that if they do ever commit suicide, their families can only seek minimum monetary damages in recompense from the company.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]According to the investigative report, this pledge was unnervingly created by Foxconn because it felt employees were killing themselves to provide generous compensatory settlements for their families – it had to stop them from saving their families from beyond the grave. The thing the entire affair emphasizes more than anything is that Foxconn is so sick of its employees committing suicide and it paying settlements, that the number of suicides must have been mind-boggling to consider. Talk about employee attrition rates.
Foxconn currently has almost half a million workers in their employ. While we would hesitate in asking you to stop purchasing Apple products – thereby even removing the inhuman livelihood of these employees – something certainly has to give...
Image courtesy: Screenshot of 'Show Her The Ropes', a fan-made Dilbert cartoon by Catbert.