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Apple "saddened and upset" and investigating recent suicides at Foxconn

Apple Supplier Responsibility

As manufacturer Hon Hai/Foxconn opens their facilities for an unprecedented media tour in the wake of a growing number of worker suicides, Apple has issued the following statement:

"We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn. We are in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously. A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made.”

In addition to Apple, Dell, HP, and others are also looking into conditions at the Shenzhen, China based manufacturer.

Apple has previously posted a supplier responsibility progress report.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple "saddened and upset" and investigating recent suicides at Foxconn


I'm curious as to what Apple could do to make conditions at Foxconn better if their audits produce failing grades. I can't see Apple terminating their relationship... pay less for Foxconn's output? Are there any clauses in their contract with Foxconn that can "punish" them for stuff like this?

I wont go into too much detail of where I know this from but here it goes.
I'm assuming Apple made Foxconn sign an SLA (Service Level Agreement). If they have an incident that would violate their SLA contract then guess what usually in most instances Apple would get a service credit. Service credits are broken down into Tiers depending on the violation. Big violations could say cost 5-10 grand and its not uncommon in big industry. Now that employee cost the company big bucks as well as reputation and possibility of loss of contract.
China's culture could have a different level of work ethics than we do.
Please note this is all speculation from the the networking industry I work in.

The only way to change the conditions which extend beyond the work place itself would be for all the companies to take their business elsewhere. But we all know that's not going to happen because cheap labor is good for their business.

Apple hired assassins to go to china and terminate some workers when they found out who leaked all those 4th Gen iPhone pictures.
Okay seriously though, Apple should not be sorry for what happened. It's not like it was their fault. Maybe something went wrong internally...

Steve could be the next Sally Struthers. Similar to the Christian Childrens Fund.
Won't you help sponsor a Chinese worker? Apple could send us a picture of a worker to hang on our fridge with every iphone purchase.
For the price of a cup of coffee each day (well, if bought at Starbucks), you can make a difference in a Chinese worker's life. With your generous iphone purchase, we'll be able to clothe them, feed them, provide shelter, give these workers a sense of pride and most importantly shows them somebody cares about them and provides a way for you to care as well.
Say yes, won't you?
PS..if your sponsored worker commits suicide (or leaks info), we'll replace him and send you another picture at no extra charge while in the first year. An Apple care plan can extend this benefit. Please visit an apple store for more details.

Amazing how blasé you guys are about the loss of the people's lives. As long as you get your shiny, new iProduct human life be damned. There is something obviously wrong with their working conditions. It's well within Apple's means to demand changes in the work environment. I would imagine that there are tons of manufacturers who would jump at the chance to build the next iWhatever.

You seem to be jumping to conclusions and making connections that aren't there. The loss of life is sad. But people who commit suicide CHOOSE to do so. I blame that person and that person only.

The rate of suicides at that factory is way under the rate in the general population in China according to the WHO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listofcountriesbysuicide_rate). According to this article (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tenth-worker-at-ipad-factor...) they've had 10 suicides amongst 400,000 workers in 4.5 months for an annualized rate of less than 6.7 per 100,000. That's less than half the rate among the general population in China of 13.9, as well as being less than the rate in the US of 11.1.

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