Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer that is responsible for creating iPods, Xboxes, Kindles, and cell phones, has brought in an army of counselors and even an exorcist to figure out why dozens of people continue to attempt suicide, and more than a handful have succeeded.
Last week, a female employee at Foxconn committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the factory building. State media reported that the incident could have been because of personal relationship problems she was having. But that doesn’t discount the seven other suicides that have taken place at the company in the last 3 months.
Last year, workplace conditions at Foxconn were brought to worldwide attention when an employee jumped out of his 12th-floor apartment building and died instantly, because he was suspected of having stolen an iPhone prototype. Since then, it has not become an isolated incident.
According to the UK newspaper The Telegraph, as many as 30 employees tried to or said they wanted to commit suicide, but the company was able to dissuade them. The company has now started taking more drastic measures by providing counselors, and now even bringing in a monk to try to expel all the bad energy at the facilities.
The size of the company is gargantuan. In one of its biggest factories, in the Chinese county of Longhua, there are more than 400,000 employees. That has been the site of the most suicides. In the Telegraph story, an undercover reporter talked about his findings at a site like Foxconn:
“If you have no links, other than on the production line, then you become one single and unconnected knot. Then you get suicidal facing a machine all day and with no way of releasing your anxiety like normal people.”