Foxconn to axe staff and replace them with robots

Chinese manufacturing behemoth Foxconn is planning to replace most of its human workers with robots according to a report in the China Business News.

The company, which currently employs 1.2 million workers many of whom are shipped in from rural areas, has been plagued with reports of appealing working conditions, low wages, forced overtime and several worker suicides over the last year or so.

Now the company's owner, Terry Guo, reckons he'll be canning all those unreliable meat-bags and replacing them with a million-strong army of robot drones who don't complain about long hours, don't need feeding or clothing, don't take up space and oxygen when they are asleep, and are considerably less likely to fling themselves out of a top-story window when it all becomes too much to handle.

The company already has 10,000 robots, and has established an automation robotics division in order to build on that number.

As well as assembling Apple's pricey iPad and iPhone gadgets, Foxconn also makes stuff for HP and Sony Ericsson. It recently posted a loss of nearly $220 million, not least because it was forced to increase worker wages after a barrage of bad publicity about its workforce.

Chinese workers have realised that the rest of the world doesn't have to slave away seven days a week 16 hours a day just to put food on the table, and want some western-style employment laws for themselves.

As much as half of all the work currently carried out puny humans could potentially be carried out by our robotic replacements, according to industry analysts. That's until they rise up and slaughter us all, of course (the robots, not the analysts.)