Foxconn CEO blames outside factors for employee suicides

It’s been a while since we’ve reported on Foxconn’s neglect towards its employees and their welfare, but this story is one that can’t be ignored. And once again it’s up to their outspoken CEO, Terry Gou, to give us something to talk about.

At Foxconn’s annual shareholders’ meeting, Gou stated:

It wasn’t because the workers were tired. Some of it was because the work is monotonous, but 90 percent of it had to do with personal relationships or because of family disputes.

What he was referring to was the string of suicides in 2010 that put a black mark against Foxconn’s, generally, well regarded work in the IT industry.

While continuing to not play down how good Foxonnn’s working conditions were prior to the deaths and how they’re even better now, Gou continued to drop statements around the Chinese government’s investigation into the suicides:

They originally wanted to publish the investigation results, but a minister I won’t name said they couldn’t. If they did, at least 95 percent of China’s factories wouldn’t have been able to reach the standard we met.

Adding that “This [the suicides] is what happens when your company reaches a certain scale,” with Gou continuing to point the finger at the people and their personal lives as the catalyst and reason for committing suicide.

Gou’s take on the events, while understandable from his point of view, aren’t shared by many. Labour protection groups have accused Foxconn factory managers of forcing employees into working long hours and have demanded the company raise it’s wages. We here at Neowin have often reported on the reports, stories and rumours that have stemmed from past and present Foxconn workers (see here, here and here for just a brief example).

We’d just like to point out that while we don’t disagree with Gou’s statement that there were likely more factors at play when his workers have committed suicide, it could have been made a touch more delicate. And just to compare size and scale of companies/organizations, the NHS in the UK has over 1.7 million employees - more than three times the reported 500,000+ workers of Foxconn. We don't see many of those people committing suicide on such a mass scale at hospitals or GP surgeries across the country.

So, what do you think; a CEO that is just being realistic, or the ramblings of an insensitive corporate suit?

Source: PC World | Image courtesy of Cult of Mac

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19 Comments

Money doesn't buy you happiness, just a better quality of misery

To be honest, I'm not sure I agree what that. Money would make me happy!!

Money (access to it and the lifestyle it allows one to lead) makes me happy frequently.

Money (the number on a statement that get's thrown in a bin) never did anything for anyone.

Maxime Tremblay said,
It's all the gravity's fault.

Damn you, gravity.

Gravity does not kill people is the evil floor the guilty.

Might it be because you treat your workers like crap and pay them peanuts. Maybe that's why some of your workers are committing suicide.

Star-Pirate said,
Might it be because you treat your workers like crap and pay them peanuts. Maybe that's why some of your workers are committing suicide.

What is the suicide rate of McDonalds and Burger King?.

"And just to compare size and scale of companies/organizations, the NHS in the UK has over 1.7 million employees"

Who don't work your long hours and get to go home at night and the weekends.

"We don't see many of those people committing suicide on such a mass scale at hospitals or GP surgeries across the country."

With waiting times in the UK that's more likely to be the patients than the staff.

Kravex said,
"And just to compare size and scale of companies/organizations, the NHS in the UK has over 1.7 million employees"

Who don't work your long hours and get to go home at night and the weekends.

"We don't see many of those people committing suicide on such a mass scale at hospitals or GP surgeries across the country."

Are you sure?.

For a tips:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...pital-chief-to-suicide.html

In fact, NHS is a bad example

http://www.hsj.co.uk/comment/w...f-nhs-staff/5060111.article

Edited by Brony, Jun 30 2014, 1:19pm :

Wow, okay!
Although that was only one person to be fair, not 24.
Also, I used to work for the NHS, I know how (and pardon my French) ######, they can be to their staff at times.
In fact, I know loads of people in the NHS that have to work long hours, lates nights and weekends because their colleagues called in sick, or they just don't have the staff numbers to cope with demand.
I can also relate to the long days/nights, as working in IT in the NHS is like being a Doc or a Nurse, they rely on the systems and services your dept provides, if it doesn't work, someone's getting an Out of Hours call (was me quite a bit, lol).

Why does he keep writing his last name as Gou, it's Guo. Otherwise, i wouldn't put too much stock in what this man says. His company of course has enabled the manufacturing of a lot of products we enjoy, but anyone who has no shame to say that managing a large workforce is like managing livestock should not be taken too seriously.

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