With every fool clamouring for the latest offering Steve Jobs craps out in the hopes that it’ll be their quick ticket to the social status of their dreams, the push to keep up with demand has taken a well-publicized toll on the legion of iSlaves toiling on factory floors. Where once suicide seemed a viable means of worker relief, the factory chiefs at Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of iPads and iPhones, have come up with a patch.
Rather than deal with workers’ crippling hours and oppressive conditions, the Apple suppliers have introduced a pre-hiring contract requirement obliging employees not to take their own lives. Worse than reflecting poorly on annual employee evaluations, taking unsanctioned suicide breaks would also limit the damages that might be sought by an employee’s family in any post-suicide legal wrangling.
The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, whose investigation discovered the anti-suicide pledge, showed that Foxconn has not kept its promises to improve working conditions. The company did, though, attempt to end criticism by hanging nets to foil jumpers and hiring monks to exorcise the plants of evil spirits.