Foxconn have been featuring in the press recently after news of 12 suicides among employees, apparently caused by extremely tiring working conditions with dire salary terms. In an effort to improve public relations and company moral Foxconn are initiating rallies with the theme “Treasure your life, love your family, care for each other to build a wonderful future.”
While it sounds like a cringeworthy lyric from a Michael Jackson song, it appears that Foxconn are taking the matter seriously and the rally was held at the Shenzen factory in China, which is home to over 300,000 employees. Similar rallies are planned at all 16 factories in China, which are home to 920,000 staff.
Foxconn have been under intense scrutiny recently due to series of inhuman working conditions, employees even revolted with protests outside the factories and the media were keen to feature TV news on the subject, across the globe. Foxconn reacted slowly with ridiculous ideas, such as asking employees to sign contracts stating that they would not kill themselves. Then in a move that stunned the world Foxconn removed benefits promised to the families of the suicide victims.
Eventually however they caught onto how to work the media, and have offered pay increases – in some cases doubling salaries to garner attention from the press. Sadly matters did not take a smooth route and reports came in that 250 workers in Foxconn’s plant in Chennai suffered food poisoning due to a spraying of pesticide.
Their latest PR move was to hold a rally – encouraging their employees to embrace their jobs, their lives and Foxconn as a company. Many staff members wore shirts saying “I Love Foxconn” with others entering into fancy dress with superhero outfits.
On TV this morning we saw many people with signs proclaiming their support and loyalty to Terry Gou, the founder of Hon Hai, Foxconn’s parent company. We can only imagine they were handed these to display proudly to the assembled world media.
The most important news however is that under all the media pandering, working conditions do appear to be getting better for employees – as those who often work 80 hour weeks will now be limited to 37 hours in accordance with Chinese law. Rotation between jobs will also help keep employees focused and interested with more opportunities given for progression within the ranks.
“I don’t think today’s event is going to achieve anything except provide a bit of theater,” Geoffrey Crothall, spokesman for the China Labor Bulletin, a labor rights group based in Hong Kong told the AP. “Basically what Foxconn needs to do is treat its workers like decent human beings and pay them a decent wage. It’s not rocket science.”
KitGuru says: Let’s hope that the conditions really do improve and less people feel like jumping out a window.