Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Microsoft probes Foxconn plant in China after unrest

AFP, SHANGHAI

US computing giant Microsoft Corp said yesterday it was probing unrest at a supplier plant in China after about 150 workers protested last week, some reportedly threatening suicide.

“Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously and we are currently investigating this issue,” Microsoft said in a statement.

The factory in Wuhan City reportedly makes Xbox game consoles for Microsoft. It is owned by Taiwanese technology firm Foxconn Technology Group (富士康), which has come under the spotlight after a string of suicides at its Chinese plants.

Foxconn said yesterday that the unrest had been “successfully and peacefully resolved.”

“Early in the morning on Jan. 4, approximately 150 employees at our Wuhan campus staged a workplace incident,” Foxconn said in a statement.

The firm said the incident was caused by a decision to transfer workers to another business unit within the complex.

It added that 45 workers involved in the incident had chosen to voluntarily resign, while others remained employees, making no mention of media reports that said some had threatened to commit suicide during the protest.

In 2010, at least 13 Foxconn employees in China died in apparent suicides, which activists blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of staff.

In November last year, a woman employed by Foxconn jumped to her death from a company building in northern China over relationship problems, Chinese state media has reported.

Foxconn employs about a million workers in China, where its plants make components and assemble products for Apple — like the iPhone — plus Sony and Nokia.

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