Microsoft investigates claims that workers at Foxconn factory supplying Xbox threatened mass suicide in pay dispute

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16 January 2012

China's Foxconn workers: from suicide threats to a trade union?

Author: Lijia Zhang, Guardian [UK]

[I]n Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province…up to 200 workers from the Microsoft Xbox production line of Foxconn (part of Hon Hai)…a major supplier of Apple…staged a strike...[and] threatened to kill themselves…In 2010…18 of their colleagues…did attempt suicide; 14 died. Some employees and labour organisations blamed a combination of factors for the workers' deaths: low wages, long working hours – sometimes up to 16 hours a day – and inhuman treatment...[However,] migrant workers [are] beginning to resist…This year, there has been a wave of factory revolts across six provinces in China…in southern China's Guangdong province…villagers staged well-organised protests…The intensive standoff ended…when top provincial leaders agreed to some of their demands...I hope China's leaders will really listen to the farmers, opening up more channels for them to express their grievances, and allowing some kind of independent labour union or at least a collective bargaining mechanism to ease the conflicts. And ultimately, they'll have to grant the same rights to those who make gadgets...[also refers to Honda]

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12 January 2012

Microsoft probes mass suicide threat at China plant

Author: CNN

Microsoft is investigating a report that workers at a Chinese plant that manufactures its Xbox...have threatened mass suicide in a pay dispute…"Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue,"…[Foxconn (part of Hon Hai)] acknowledged…that 150 workers had protested at its Wuhan factory on January 4. The incident, the company said…was later resolved "successfully and peacefully,"..."The welfare of our employees is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected," the company statement said…"...Microsoft's statement...[said] "Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors and to ensuring conformance with Microsoft policy." [also refers to Apple, Dell, HP, Sony]

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