A worker at a Foxconn plant in the southwestern city of Chengdu reportedly committed suicide yesterday, similar to the way in which at least a dozen employees of the manufacturing giant jumped to their deaths last year.
The worker, a 20-year-old man, jumped from the flat he occupied in Deyuan town near the company's industrial park in the morning hours, the Hong Kong China News Agency reported. It was unclear why he jumped or whether his flat was part of a Foxconn dormitory.
A Foxconn spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The suicide came days after an explosion at one of the electronics manufacturer's plants in Sichuan. Three people were killed and 15 were injured in a blast on Friday night at one of the plants in the industrial park. Investigators said it was the result of flammable dust in ducts.
A central government spokesman called the explosion a 'product-safety accident', adding that Beijing hoped Foxconn would 'draw lessons from the accident'.
Foxconn, which makes iPads and iPhones for Apple, as well as devices for Sony, Hewlett-Packard and others, struggled last year to cope with the rash of worker suicides. Labour rights groups said they believed the suicides were the result of harsh working conditions at the Taiwanese-invested manufacturing giant, which employs more than 1 million workers on the mainland.
A research report, jointly produced by 20 universities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland in January, described Foxconn as a 'labour camp' that severely violated mainland labour laws and abused workers physically and mentally. The research also found that at least 17 Foxconn workers had attempted to commit suicide since January 2010 - and 13 died.
Foxconn, however, said it treated its workers well. It raised wages for workers at the main manufacturing site in Shenzhen after a spate of employee suicides there. Production is being moved to central and western regions to mitigate labour costs.