The Chinese workers who build Apple products keep killing themselves, so their employer has asked them to sign a pledge they won't commit suicide. The actual document is after the jump.
Workers employed by Foxconn, which manufactures Apple's digital devices, pledge not to commit suicide and to seek medical help if necessary, in a mental or physical hospital, according to Bloomberg and a Google translation of Ming Pao's story. They also apparently promise to report any strange behavior on the part of their co-workers.
The pledge seems a bizarre attempt at damage control. Foxconn just had its 11th worker suicide of the year and has begun to hang nets around factories to stop people from throwing themselves off buildings, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Foxconn has uncharacteristically begun discussing its suicide problem in public, and clearly wants to contain the mushrooming scandal over worker safety, especially in the wake of an undercover newspaper investigation into the company's factory, and a some disturbing video that has emerged on the Chinese internet.
Apple, much more experienced and slick at damage control, simply today issued a vague promise to investigate the suicides. Which we presume will eventually result in some kind of statement about how the problem really was never a big deal to begin with, once all this has blown over. Assuming, that is, Foxconn workers stop killing themselves long enough for it to blow over in the first place.
1. If I encounter problems and difficulties after entering the company, I will ask for help from the "Employee Care Center" [...]
2. [...]I will not harm myself or others; I agree that, in order for the company to protect me and others, it can send me to a hospital should I exhibit abnormal physical or mental problems.
3. [...] In the event of non-accidental injuries (including suicide, self mutilation, etc.), I agree that the company has acted properly in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and will not sue the company[...]
Got that? If you kill yourself, you can't sue Foxconn. OK then!
[Photo: Foxconn workers in Shenzhen, China this week via AP]