Just hours after Foxconn chairman Terry Gou promised to take steps against the high number of suicides at his factories, a 23 year old man jumped to his death. It marks the tenth death in a string of suicide attempts at Foxconn, and Gou is currently under attack by the media because he wanted his employees to sign a letter that made them promise not to harm themselves, and threatened to stop paying more money to the family of every suicide victim than the minimum compensation that is stipulated by Chinese law.
While it sounds morbid, Telegraph writer Malcolm Moore points out compensations are likely part of the problem. Foxconn has committed itself to pay 110,000 yuan (approx. $16,100) in compensation to the family of every person who jumps, a sum that equals over ten years of gross salary for the average worker at a Foxconn plant.
Without it, Foxconn finds itself in the position of continuing to pay 110,000 yuan (£11,000) in compensation to every person who jumps. For a depressed Foxconn employee, who still feels an obligation to repay his family for the cost of his or her upbringing and who would like to give his parents a lump sum that could transform their lives, this is a very tempting sum.
For a worker on the basic rate of 900 yuan a month, the compensation amounts to the equivalent of over ten years of gross salary. For a worker who is doing overtime and earning 1500 yuan a month, the compensation is still worth six years of salary.
UPDATE: The suicides at Foxconn are spiraling out of control. Gizmodo just reports another employee has jumped, and that a potential 16th jumper has been spotted on the roof.