A Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that produces iPhones and iPads for Apple is being scrutinized after a spate of staff suicides.
Foxconn faces a joint probe into working conditions from several Chinese government departments, following the death of ten workers in the space of six months at its Longhua plant, China Daily reports.
The latest death, on Friday, happened two days after an investigative team was dispatched to discover the cause of the disquiet.
While statistically the suicide rate is not unusually high – China averages 15 suicides per 100,000 people and Foxconn employs around 300,000 at its Longhua factory – the firm registered only three suicides last year, FT.com said.
The firm said it was reviewing its worker conditions and care practices, telling FT.com that “[i]n n Foxconn's more than 20 years of history, we've never had anything like this.”
It is giving psychological training to around 100 staff. They will return to the factory floor next week to observe workers, looking for early signs of instability. The factory has also set up a help hotline and a new counseling center, and already offers a wide range of recreational activities at the plant.
However, workers may have few opportunities to enjoy leisure activities, with the FT reporting that they typically work 10-12 hour shifts, and that rarely leave the campus-like facility.
The news is a further blow to Apple’s outsourced manufacturing strategy, after the firm revealed in March that child labor was used in three factories where the iPhone is made.