China: Apple workers pledge not to kill themselves

May 14, 2011
Workers in a Foxconn factory in China making Apple products.

“Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

“At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

“Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

“Appalling conditions: An investigation by two NGOs has found new workers at Foxconn factories in China are made to sign a ‘no suicide’ pledge ...

“And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

“An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories. They claimed that:

* Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month, the Observer reported.

* During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.

* Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.

*Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts.”

— A May 1 article.


These deaths are also happening at France Telecom and at U.S. Colleges. They are not caused by poor working conditions or worker abuse. It's a problem discovered and solved forty years ago when it caused mental breaks for office workers. The cubicle was designed to deal with the vision startle reflex in crowded working conditions to stop the problem in offices by 1968. Foxconn uses cubicles in offices but does not understand why they must be used. They failed to realize that electronics assembly line workers must use a level of mental investment, concentration, so that they qualify for Cubicle Level Protection just like knowledge workers in offices. ... The full cubicle is not needed but there should be some peripheral vision blocking scheme between concentrating workers put too close together. In the United States colleges do not provide Cubicle Level Protection where it is needed nor do they warn students. There is a long list of disappearances and suicides. There have been two of them at Georgia Tech. Joe Morse's roommate from 2003 supplied diagrams of their dorm room computer set up. Morse had three sources for Subliminal Distraction exposure. Those diagrams are on the Joe Morse - Georgia Tech page at VisionAndPsychosis.Net.
Would this pledge be deemed enforceable in any nation other than China? Like if an employer tried to make workers in the US or Australia sign contracts to not kill themselves or their families be limited in the damages they might seek. Would courts in those countries recognise such contracts as being valid? Or would the courts deem that these contracts were signed under duress? Either way, this is a sad reflection on every Human in existence.

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