Dell, HP and Apple to investigate spate of Foxconn suicides

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Dell, HP and Apple to investigate spate of Foxconn suicides

Chinese supplier now putting up nets.

Some of the biggest names in the IT industry are investigating a spate of suicides at a plant run by Foxconn, a key Chinese supplier.

The factory has just had its tenth suicide this year, which occurred hours after the company chief executive Terry Gou, one of Taiwan's most famous businessmen, had taken international media on a tour of the plant.

Gou said the situation was so troubling it was stopping him sleeping and the company had taken action, including training counsellors, offering more leisure opportunities and installing nets outside the factory to catch jumpers.

"Although this seems like a dumb measure, at least it could save a life should anyone else fall," said Mr Gou, according to a BBC report.

The plant has come under increasing scrutiny after a rising number of suicides among staff.

Nevertheless the company says it is still receiving 8,000 applications a day for people seeking employment there.

Last month a journalist with Southern Weekend went undercover in the plant and found staff working 12 hour shifts in silence for little pay and virtually no privacy or leisure activities. Staff sign a voluntary pact to forgo overtime protections in a bid to earn more money.

Apple has already said that it will be investigating the plant, which makes iPhones and iPads for the company. HP and Dell have also said that they are investigating.

"Any reports of poor working conditions in Dell's supply chain are investigated and, if warranted, appropriate action is taken,” Sharon Zhang, a spokeswoman for Dell, told the AFP news agency.

“We expect our suppliers to employ the same high standards we do in our own facilities.”

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