Suicide: Not Yours.

Workers in Chinese Apple factories forced to sign pledges not to commit suicide

After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers. And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

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.

The 'anti-suicide pledge' was brought in after sociologists wrote an open letter to the media calling for an end to restrictive working practices.

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8 Responses:

  1. Jon Konrath says:

    I'm sure the people read these anti-suicide agreements like I read the updated terms and conditions that iTunes pushes in front of me every other day, and immediately skip to the bottom and click OK, so I don't know how that's going to help.

    • Gabriel Rosenkoetter says:

      I guess an employment contract in a Communist state could be equated with an software EULA (agree or go money-free), but your observation seems to miss the point of the original slightly, sir.

  2. Timmyson says:

    I've never been an Apple guy, but I'm a little skeptical. First it's in the Daily Mail, which is seldom a reliable source, and second, they seem to be reporting that in 16 months, 14 of 500,000 people committed suicide. That's exceptionally low (I'm pretty sure I heard this argument elsewhere). That said, it's not that implausible a story, so perhaps I'm misinterpreting their statistics.

    • Jered says:

      I don't think you're mistaken; I'm pretty sure this is concern trolling. I wish I understood what led to this sort of constant media refrain... is it pure misunderstanding, is it recognition that tragedy sells ads, or is it more insidious business protectionism?

      • jwz says:

        Be that as it may, there's nothing about "suicide waver" that isn't hilarious.

        Well, except for the obvious bit.

        But whether or not to kill herself is one of the most important decisions a teen can make!

  3. Jered says:

    Wow, biased much, Daily Mail?

    While it's not a job I'd want, it's hardly "horrendous working conditions," especially compared with, oh, sustenance farming. It's a really boring, repetitive desk job. And my understanding is that the suicide rate isn't higher than population average, and generally they are not work-related.

    This kind of concern trolling drives me batty.

    • Alias Robert Cummins says:

      At least sustenance farming gets out in the open air.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        The open air? That's the one with a poorly shielded fusion reactor providing "enough" light only half the time, the air conditioning is shot (and seems to leak directly onto you a lot of the time) and so on.

        I've never worked in an office that was even half that unpleasant. Don't get me wrong, I like to eat a picnic in the park on a warm spring day as much as the next man. Just don't pretend it's a good place to work.