Global manufacturer Foxconn is looking to change the way it operates its factories, following a spate of ten suicide attempts at its Shenzhen site.
According to the Financial Times, the company is to provide greater counselling and psychiatric care to its 300,000 workers at the Longhua factory, just outside Shenzhen. These measures will include a help hotline, and new counselling centre, team building events and is offering rewards to employees who report problem signs among co-workers.
“In Foxconn’s more than 20 years of history, we’ve never had anything like this,’ Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun told the FT. “We have noticed one phenomenon: Our senior executives’ communication with our workers has been deteriorating. Therefore we’re asking ourselves: Has our management directly triggered this? So far, we haven’t found direct evidence. But why is this happening again and again? This s something we need to review.”
The company has seen a slew of suicide bids in recent months. On Friday May 21st, a 21 year-old employee jumped from a building at the Shenzhen plant, his death marked the eighth successful suicide attempt out of ten this year.
The suicides have prompted growing criticism of the Foxconn business model, which sees thousands of people living and working within the confines of a factory, and not just from foreign observers. Chinese state media has voiced criticism, while activists are trying to organise ‘netizen observer groups’ to infiltrate Foxconn facilities.