Sunday, May 8, 2011
Workers in Apple iPad factories forced to sign anti-suicide contracts
Do you think you have a difficult job? Try working for Foxconn in an Apple iPad/iPhone factory in China. As reported by The Daily Mail, in addition to working nearly 100 hours of overtime in a month, standing on their feet for 12 hours at a time, and not being allowed to say a word while working, employees are now also forced to sign “anti-suicide” contracts. This was in response to a large number of deaths the previous year. The main impetus of this requirement appears to be legal in nature. If an employee violates the contract by killing themselves, the binding document states that the family of the deceased is allowed only the legal minimum in damages. In addition to signing the pact, the company has also put up “anti-suicide nets” around the living facilities to help prevent employees from jumping off of the building to their death. These measures were implemented after last year’s plan of hiring monks to exorcise evil spirits had failed. The popularity of the iPad has put tremendous pressure on suppliers to deliver parts to Apple in a timely manner. To meet this demand, workers are forced to put in long hours, live in dorms with up to 24 other people in the same room, and not say a word to each other while working. These working conditions put a strain on the workers’ mental health, but don’t expect many changes until consumers are willing to pay higher prices for the products they want.