Suicide Factory Hikes Wages 20%
Company hopes for 'morale boost' after 10 employees jumped to their deaths
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2010 7:22 AM CDT
ember of a Taiwan labor group spread a banner that reads, "What's the Price of the Human Body?" as they stage a protest outside Hon Hai Precision Industry, the Taiwanese parent company of Foxconn, on...   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
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(Newser) – Foxconn, the electronics manufacturer hit by suicides of unhappy workers at its main plant in China, says it will raise wages by 20%. The company, which makes parts and assembles products for Apple, Sony, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claims the raise has been in the works for months in response to a labor shortage. Still, after 10 suicides and three more attempts this year, an official expressed hope that the raises would boost morale. "Feeling sad is contagious, and so is feeling happy," he told the AP. "We hope the workers will have a positive attitude toward their lives."

Labor activists have urged Foxconn to raise wages by at least 50%, which they say would enable workers to earn enough to make a living without having to do overtime, CNN reports; the base salary is currently about $130 a month. Foxconn's chairman said earlier this week that the mammoth factory's 30,000 employees were being divided into groups of 50 that would watch for signs of emotional trouble among their members.