Chinese Company Asks Workers for “No-Suicide” Pledge

May 31, 2011 ( – Along with details of an investigation into working conditions at Foxconn, a Chinese company that makes Apple iPads and iPhones, are reports that the company is asking workers to sign a “no-suicide” pledge.

The company experienced a rash of suicides last summer that led it to attach large nets to its factory to catch workers. 

According to Shanghaiist, in the letter employees are asked to promise: 

  • If I encounter problems and difficulties after entering the company, I will ask for help from the “Employee Care Center” and other related departments. 
  • In terms of my own responsibilities, if I have great difficulties or frustrations I will reach out to relatives to resolve them or report them to the company director, I will also agree to contact and communicate with colleagues, personal staff and relatives. However, I will not harm myself or others; I agree that, in order for the company to protect me and others, it can send me to a hospital should I exhibit abnormal physical or mental problems. 
  • In the event of non-accidental injuries (including suicide, self mutilation, etc.), I agree that the company has acted properly in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and will not sue the company, bring excessive demands, take drastic actions that would damage the company’s reputation or cause trouble that would hurt normal operations. 

According to news reports, The Centre for Research on Multinational Companies, and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, conducted an investigation of the working conditions at Foxconn and found: 

  • Excessive overtime is routine, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. The report says that workers are usually subjected to 50 to 80 hours of overtime a month. One pay slip indicated that the worker had performed 98 hours of overtime in a month, and often workers were paid a dollar an hour and slept on a factory floor. 
  • Workers attempting to meet the huge demand for the first iPad sometimes were pressured to take only one day off in 13. 
  • In some factories, workers – who aren’t allowed to talk, carry a mobile phone, or sit down – who performed badly were humiliated in front of colleagues. “If they made [a] mistake, they had to write a confession letter and hand it to the supervisor,” the report says. “If the mistake is serious, the worker has to read the confession letter in front of his other colleagues.” 
  • Crowded workers’ dormitories can sleep up to 24 to a room.