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New Death Hits Iphones Factory


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A ninth employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, China's state media reports.

Xinhua said 21-year-old Nan Gang leapt from a four-storey factory in the early hours, soon after finishing work.

Shortly after, it emerged that the death of a worker at a Foxconn plant in Hebei province earlier this year was also a suicide.

A total of 11 Foxconn employees have tried to kill themselves this year - two have survived.

The incidents have raised concerns about worker treatment at the site.

The Associated Press quoted spokesman Arthur Huang as saying the company carried out social responsibility programmes to ensure workers' welfare.

Earlier this week, Foxconn said it was enlisting counsellors and Buddhist monks to provide emotional support for its workers.

Suicides Ten of the employees worked at Foxconn's campuses in Shenzhen, but on Friday it was revealed that a man who died at a factory in the northern Hebei province had also jumped from a building.

The worker, identified by Xinhua as 19-year old Rong Bo, died in the city of Langtang early this year.

A similar investigation into the death of 16-year old Wang Lingyan - who was found dead in a dormitory at the same site - concluded she died from cardiac arrest, government spokeswoman Wang Qiunu told Xinhua.

_47895920_cctvchina.jpg Foxconn worker Sun Danyong killed himself last year Foxconn is part of Hon Hai Precision, the world's largest maker of consumer electronics, and employs 800,000 workers worldwide, mostly in China.

The company has said it is taking the deaths seriously, even though a local government investigation did not blame working conditions.

The spate of deaths comes after a Foxconn employee in charge of shipping Apple's iPhone prototype units killed himself last year after one of the units went missing.

Apple said it had investigated accusations of bad employment practices by Foxconn stemming from a June 2006 complaint, it concluded that some employees were working more than Foxconn's mandated maximum during peak production times, and as many as a quarter of them were not taking at least one day off a week.

US-based China Labour Watch has criticised Foxconn's "military-style administration and harsh working conditions" and called on the company to "initiate a thoroughgoing analysis of life on its production lines".

Still as long as Apple keep their margins up...

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Apple boss Steve Jobs has defended conditions at a Taiwanese electronics firm that produces the firm's popular iPhone, following a spate of suicides.

"Foxconn is not a sweatshop," he told a conference in the US.

Mr Jobs said that Apple representatives were working with Foxconn to find out why 10 workers had killed themselves at a factory in Shenzhen, China.

An eleventh worker recently died at another factory in northern China.

In total, there have been 13 suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn factories this year.

"We're all over this," said Mr Jobs at the All Things Digital conference in California.

Steve Jobs Apple CEO Foxconn has said that it will give its assembly line workers a 30% pay rise.

The firm had previously said that it would offer a 20% pay increase to its Chinese workers, who earn 900 yuan (£90) per month at entry-level.

"We hope the hike in wages will help improve the living standards of the workers and allow them to have more leisure time, which is good for their health," an official of Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai precision told AFP.

Hon Hai Precision is the world's largest maker of consumer electronics, and employs 800,000 workers worldwide, mostly in China.

Foxconn makes a range of products for manufacturers including Apple, Dell and Nokia.

The deaths have shone a spotlight on working conditions at the factory, where workers - often from rural China - work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

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An electronics company hit by a string of suicides has raised wages in China - for the second time in less than a week.

Foxconn will increase salaries at its Shenzhen plant by nearly 70% from as early as 1 October, if workers meet certain conditions.

This is in addition to last week's announcement that wages would go up by 30%.

There have been 10 suicides at the Taiwan firm's Shenzhen factory in 2010.

Shares down A statement from Foxconn, which makes Apple's iPad and iPhone, said the second pay rise would lessen the pressure on workers to do overtime.

"While overtime work was always voluntary, this wage increase will reduce overtime work as a personal necessity," the statement said.

It said wages for production line employees at the firm's Shenzhen plant would rise from 1,200 yuan ($176, £122) to 2,000 yuan.

_47892926_009172883-1.jpg The firm makes products for Apple and other technology brands To get that pay rise, workers first have to pass a performance test lasting three months.

New employees will be put on probation for the same amount of time before getting the increase.

Pay increases for workers at Foxconn's other Chinese plants - it employs more than 800,000 people in China - will be announced from July 1.

"This wage increase has been instituted to safeguard the dignity of workers," said Foxconn's founder and chairman, Terry Gou.

This latest announcement is in addition to last Wednesday's pay rise of 30% at all its factories in China.

Foxconn, the trading name for Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, declined to say why there have been two large wage increases in less than a week.

"I can't comment on that," said a company spokeswoman.

The firm has been hit by a series of suicides this year.

Ten people have killed themselves at its plant in Shenzhen, in southern China, which employs about 400,000 people. Three more apparently tried to take their own lives.

Mr Gou said he was having trouble sleeping at night - and dreads an after-hours phone call, fearing it will be another suicide.

Increasing pay is just one method to make sure workers are more "stable and comfortable".

Foxconn has also employed psychiatrists and installed safety nets on buildings.

While the pay rise is good for workers, investors took a different view.

The company's shares fell sharply on the Taiwan stock market following the announcement of the second pay rise.

Trading in the company's shares on the Hong Kong Exchange was suspended on Monday.

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