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Foxconn Resolves Dispute With Workers Who Threatened Suicide

Earlier this month, a group Chinese workers at Foxconn spent two days on the roof of one of the companies factories in central China. As The Telegraph reported, the workers were threatening to commit suicide to protest their working conditions.

Today, The New York Times reports, the the contract electronics manufacturer for some of the leading technology firms in the world, announced it came to an agreement with the workers:

"The company, a major supplier of products to Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and other electronics giants, said the dispute last week had been resolved successfully and peacefully but that 45 workers had resigned.

"In a statement released Thursday, Foxconn said most of the protesting workers had agreed to return to work after negotiations were held with the company and local government officials. But details of the agreement were not released. One of the workers said they had been promised additional compensation.

"Foxconn said the protest had involved about 150 of the 32,000 employees at its campus in the city of Wuhan. It was the latest in a long-running series of labor troubles to befall the company, which supplies popular goods like the Apple iPhone, the Amazon Kindle and the Microsoft Xbox."

PC Magazine reportsthat 45 workers resigned.

For over a year, Foxconn Technology has faced controversy over the number of suicides that occurred at its Chinese factories. In May of last year, Wired ran a report detailing some of the working conditions. The workers, they say, work 12-hour days without a break. They're not allowed to talk or sit down. Mistakes are also not tolerated. Wired adds:

"[Workers are] humiliated. 'If they made [a] mistake, they had to write a confession letter and hand it to the supervisor,' the report says. 'If the mistake is serious, the worker has to read the confession letter in front of his other colleagues.'

"Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo admitted to the Daily Mail that conditions can be rough. When asked about the humiliation of workers, Woo said, 'It is not something we endorse or encourage. However, I would not exclude that this might happen given the diverse and large population of our workforce. But we are working to change it.'"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.