Foxconn ends consolation payments for suicides

Taiwan's richest bloke, Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou has come up with another cunning ruse to stop his workers topping themselves.

After planning to install nets around his iPhone-making Foxconn plants to catch the falling bodies, and then offering to hike wages by a stunning 70 per cent, Gou seems to have finally cottoned on to a plan which may finally reduce the death toll and also appease stock holders.

Gou yesterday announced a new policy of not making condolence and consolation payments to the families of employees who commit suicide.

Suicide compensation payments were roughly equivalent to 10 years' wages and were paid to the families of suicide victims, Gou said. It seems some workers beavering away to support their families did a bit of maths and decided that jumping from a window was a quicker way to riches, rather than spending ten years in a place that, according to Steve Jobs "is not a sweat shop."

These poor souls took what may have been the easy way out.

Gou also told shareholders at a meeting in Taipei yesterday, that he has also given up the task of looking after his workers' emotional welfare and running the dormitories attached to the factories at which they work from dawn 'til dusk. He said he'd hand responsibility for such matters over to local Chinese authorities instead.

Gou also said Hon Hai would raise wages not only at its factories in Shenzhen in southern China, where most of the dozen suicide attempts have taken place but also at others scattered around China.

Gou said a team of more than 200 officials and experts had conducted a 10-day on-site investigation into the suicides at the Shenzhen complex, which employs more than 400,000. They found no connection between the suicides and working conditions at the factory, he said.

But one worker who attempted to take his own life was found to have left a suicide note telling his family to expect a healthy sum from the company if he were successful.

"I told the Chinese investigators that they should detain me immediately if I am found guilty, but they should clear me of the accusations if I am not," Gou told the meeting, according to the China Post.