This week, a report surfaced that a group of 300 Xbox 360 factory workers threatened to commit suicide en masse over a labor dispute. The group took the rooftops, but was finally talked down. Here are the photos.
The workers were employees of Foxconn, a company that manufacturers electronics for Sony, Nintendo, Apple, and many more electronics brands. It's also a company notorious for its high turnover rate and suicides.
Yesterday, Microsoft provided Kotaku with its account of what happened and what caused the suicide threats.
While the initial report, which was from Chinese anti-government website China Jasmine Revolution, stated that 300 workers took the roof, there doesn't appear to be 300 people in the pictures. There look to be about a hundred.
Does that make the fact workers apparently negotiated unpaid severance pay through suicide threats less shocking? Imagine the uproar if 100 employees at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters played this same game of chicken. Imagine if ten employees did. Imagine if one did.
There is a problem, and we are all contributing to it in one way or another. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are making hand over fist, and we are throwing fuel on this hellish fire.
Contrarians will say these workers have it better than those working in rural rice paddies. But writer Mike Daisey, who recently did a fantastic piece on Foxconn for This American Life, put it best: "We sent these jobs overseas and didn't send the protections with them. And it's not right."
Daisey's piece is more centered on Apple via Foxconn, but stories of underage workers, over-crowded dormitories, workers making electronics by hand because its cheaper, factory floors and living spaces monitored with security cameras, security guards brandishing guns, and injured, deformed, and disfigured workers are both haunting and disturbing.
So are these photos.
武汉富士康爆劳资纠纷 百多人欲集体跳楼 [阿波罗网]