Foxconn claims suicidal workers did it for the money

Foxconn's finger-pointing should drive Apple, Dell, HP, and others to ask which overseas partners meet their CSR goals

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Beyond putting an end to the suicide compensation program, Tai-ming said Foxconn is considering moving its main production lines back to Taiwan and using more automated production -- as well as selling the company's dormitories to the local government so that authorities could take responsibility for the living conditions.

While I acknowledge that Foxconn is taking some steps toward making the lives of its employees more tolerable -- such as significantly raising wages -- I'm appalled by the implication that some employees were taking their lives to game the company's compensation policy. Suicide is an act of extreme despair -- and given that employees lived and worked at Foxconn facilities, it's tough not to attribute that despair at least in part to the conditions at Foxconn.

More troubling, Foxconn likely has better working and living conditions than other manufacturing companies in the region. After all, the tech companies that have chosen Foxconn as their manufacturer claim to have strict CSR guidelines and to hold their partners to a high standard.

Apple, HP, Dell, Intel, and all the other high-tech companies need to be more vigilant as to whom they work do business with -- and to carefully consider just how much cheap labor is worth. Of course, that also puts a degree of responsibility on customers and stockholders of the IT giants of world. How much is it worth to you to save $20 on your new iPhone 4G?

This article, "Foxconn claims suicidal workers did it for the money," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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