At least one employee at Foxconn, the manufacturing giant best known for making Apple products, has reportedly jumped from a factory roof in Shenzhen, China due to concerns over job security.
According to AppleInsider, which cited reports from Chinese micro-blogging website Sina Weibo, a female worker jumped from the roof at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory on Friday but survived. By noon, three other employees had also climbed to the roof of the building and were threatening to jump, the blog said.
According to other reports, a second person jumped off the roof, though there is no word about their condition.
In a statement on Monday, Foxconn confirmed that a worker dispute occurred, but did not address whether anyone had jumped from the building.
"We can confirm that on March 29, three employees at our campus in Longhua, Shenzhen were involved in a workplace dispute over the company's decision to offer them an opportunity to relocate to another Foxconn China facility as part of a shift in production linked to their business group," the statement reads. "As a result of that dispute, the employees in question gathered at the top of a campus building and stayed there until local law enforcement authorities arrived at the scene. The dispute was resolved peacefully and no one was injured. Any reports to the contrary are totally inaccurate."
Unfortunately, suicide at Foxconn is not a new phenomenon. At least 14 Foxconn workers in Shenzen and Chengdu have taken their own lives in a string of worker suicides since early 2010. Foxconn has since forced employees to sign a pledge promising that they won't commit suicide and installed nets outside factory dormitories to deter potential jumpers.
The most recent wave of employee discontent reportedly stems from recent job cuts, lowered wages, and the end of some free amenities. Foxconn is said to have been encouraging some employees to leave the company as part of an effort to cut employee costs.
The electronics maker last month suspended recruitment of new hires, but denied that the hiring freeze was related to slowing iPhone 5 demand.
As of December, working conditions seemed to be improving at Foxconn's mainland China factories. A New York Times article detailed positive changes at Foxconn's China-based plants, which have been criticised by global labour rights groups and were audited last year by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), at Apple's behest.