Foxconn Suicides: Governments and Companies Must Face Responsibilities

The ITUC is gravely concerned at the tragic suicides at Foxconn Technology Group in Shenzhen, China. The Taiwanese Foxconn group is at the heart of the “Made in China” export model. The group employs a total of nearly 800,000 workers in China, and the Shenzhen facilities alone employ nearly 420,000 employees.

Twelve workers have jumped from the buildings or attempted to commit suicide in the Shenzhen production facilities of Foxconn. Ten of these young migrant workers have died, and two others were seriously injured. The ITUC expresses its deepest regret over these tragedies and condolence to the victims’ families and friends.

The tragedy that has taken place in Foxconn is the product of the Taiwanese company’s harsh management practices and the particularly vulnerable situation of the young migrant workers in China as they are locked in the cost-competitive export model of China.

FOXCONN is an important supplier for major Western companies. It supplies Apple products like iPhone and iPad, as well as Nintendo, Nokia cell phones, Sony products, H-P and Dell hardware. Many of these companies do have corporate codes of conduct which are supposed to ensure high social standards, and they share the responsibility for what happens in their supply chains.

The ITUC appeals to the Chinese government, the All China Confederation of Trade Unions, Foxconn and all the brand companies that are sourcing from Foxconn to take the necessary measures to offer assistance to the bereaved families and victims and make sure that adequate compensation mechanisms are developed.

The ITUC welcomes the joint intervention and investigation of the suicides taken by the various departments of the Shenzhen government including the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of Health and the All China Confederation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) in Shenzhen City. Only with an investigation that truly reflects the grievances of the workers, acknowledges the problems, commits to serious rectifications and delivers justice can further speculations and grievances amongst the families and other workers be quelled.

The ITUC appeals to the Shenzhen government for an open, candid and fair investigation report about the real and fundamental causes to the loss of these young lives and action for timely and effective corrective measures.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.

Photo: Jared Earle