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Apple supplier Foxconn says 150 workers <br>at South China factory in protest

Source:January 12, 2012 | Bloomberg Bus     Date:2012-01-16
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By Janet Ong and Mark Lee

Foxconn Technology Group (FOXCGZ), maker of parts for Microsoft (MSFT) Corp.’s Xbox, said some members of its 1 million-person workforce threatened to jump from a factory building earlier this month to protest an internal transfer of employees.

About 150 workers at Foxconn’s plant in Wuhan, southern China, demonstrated on Jan. 2 in opposition to the company’s plan to move them to a new production line, the Taiwanese company said in an e-mailed statement today. Foxconn didn’t say how many threatened to leap from the three-story building.

The incident was resolved the same day, after talks between the workers, executives and government officials, Foxconn said. Microsoft said in a separate statement that it investigated the issue.

Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of electronics including Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone, raised wages and boosted worker welfare in 2010 after at least 10 employees committed suicide. The Wuhan protests showed the Taipei-based company needs to improve communication with workers, said Geoffrey Crothall, a director at rights group China Labor Bulletin.

“The reason you see these protests is because the employees feel they have no other option,” Crothall said by phone from Hong Kong today. Threatening suicide is a common way for Chinese workers to draw employers’ attention to grievances, he said.

Worker Suicides

Forty five employees in Wuhan resigned after the dispute over reassignments among the facility’s 32,000 employees, Foxconn said in the statement.

The suicides at Foxconn in 2010 prompted labor groups including China Labor Watch to say the Taipei-based company pushes employees to work long hours to earn more money. FoxconnMiesten keng?t laajasta valikoimasta

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