Foxconn to increase wages by 20 per cent

Hon Hai Group, owner of the Foxconn factories at which workers are so happy they regularly jump from the windows in order to end it all, said it is considering increasing wages at its facilities, in order to try and keep some workers on the payroll.

Hon Hai, maker of Apple's iPhones and hundreds of other products made cheaply in China and flogged with a healthy margin around the world, said it may implement the cunning ruse "soon".

Edmund Ding, a spokesman at Taipei-based Hon Hai Precision Industry failed to specify exactly when "soon" may be.

A tenth suicide was reported this week at Foxconn plant. A further three workers have attempted to kae their own lives at two Foxconn factories in China.

As we reported earlier, the suicides have prompted a spate of visits to Foxconn facilities and the local police and Communist Party officials are investigating the deaths and the conditions at the factories.

Shares in Hon Hai fell as much as 1.6 per cent in Taipei on the news. A Citigroup estimate put the cost to the company at NT$2.7 billion ($84 million) a quarter, which means its operating profit could be hit by 10 to 11 per cent. Investors don't like that.

Bur even the state-run China Daily newspaper has waded in to say the conditions for workers in such factories need to be addressed. A report on the paper's web site here makes for sobering reading.

Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell all use Hon Hai factories and say they are investigating the series of tragedies.