Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.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.
Appalling conditions: An investigation by two NGOs has found new workers at Foxconn factories in China are made to sign a 'no suicide' pledge
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.
An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.
They claimed that:
- Excessive overtime was rife, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip showed a worker did 98 hours of overtime in one month, the Observer reported.
- During peak periods of demand for the iPad, workers were made to take only one day off in 13.
- Badly performing workers were humiliated in front of colleagues.
- Workers are banned from talking and are made to stand up for their 12-hour shifts.