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Watchdog Group Slams Apple for Suicide at Asian iPhone, iPad Manufacturer

A watchdog group with a history of keeping a close eye on working conditions at the Asian factories that produce Apple’s popular mobile devices is placing blame on the Silicon Valley giant for a suicide today in China.

SumOfUs.org was quick to call out Apple after a man working at a Foxconn, which manufactures iPads and iPhones, jumped to his death in Chengdu, China. SumOfUs, which gathers signatures online demanding that Apple work to improve working conditions in these factories, said its members "are livid that lives will continue to be unnecessarily lost as a result of Apple’s negligence."

Apple has been fairly mum on this topic over the past several months, but did say in February that the Fair Labor Association was conducting volunteer audits of its assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at the company’s request. The company committed to improving conditions after the FLA came back with its report.

A Reuters story earlier this year said Foxconn was raising wages by anywhere from 16 to 25 percent in the face of this criticism over working conditions. Those claims have included the questionable hiring of children; forcing employees to work extremely long hours to pump out enough products; and crowded living conditions at the factory campuses where many workers keep their residences.

Foxconn promised in March to reduce the amount of overtime it requires by hiring more workers and said it would improve living conditions.

This saga dates back a couple of years, when it came to light that seven Foxconn employees had committed suicide in just the first four-and-a-half months of 2010.


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