In a possible case of, "Choose your words wisely," the head of the parent company of Foxconn reportedly compared the workers at the company to animals. According to a report at Want China Times, Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai, said at a recent year-end meeting, "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache."
As if to further the comparison, Gou also invited the director of the Taipei Zoo to give a lecture to the executives assembled at the year end meeting on how to manage animals.
This kind of bad publicity is just the latest for Hon Hai in general and for Foxconn in particular. It's been known for a long time that working conditions at the Foxconn plants, which manufacture parts and devices for a large number of Western electronic and tech companies, are very poor. To highlight this, the Foxconn worker situation became the subject of a Daily Show parody.
In 2010, a number of workers at a Foxconn plant in China committed suicide at the work place. Earlier this month, Foxconn and Microsoft said a worker dispute at a plant where Xbox 360 consoles were being made was resolved, after some workers at that plant reportedly threatened to commit suicide.