Beijing (AFP) June 13, 2010
The findings of an official inquiry into a spate of suicides among Chinese employees of Taiwanese IT giant Foxconn will be made public, Chinese media reported Sunday.
Zhang Xioajian, Beijing's vice-minister for human resources and social security, gave the assurance in an interview with Chinese newspapers and published on the sina.com website.
The inquiry into the Foxconn suicides will be conducted jointly by Zhang's ministry, the Ministry of Public Security and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, among others, according to the report.
In five months, 11 Chinese employees have committed suicide by jumping from buildings, including 10 in Shenzhen. Another three attempted suicide.
Labour rights activists have blamed the suicides on tough working conditions at Foxconn factories, the world's largest maker of computer components and a supplier to leading brands such as Dell, Nokia and Apple.
Zhang said in the interview that the suicides were "not only a problem at the labour-relations level".
"It is also linked to the question of enterprise management, of the psychology of young people and there are also those who say that media reports led to an emotional contagion," he said.
Foxconn, which employs an estimated 400,000 workers in Shenzhen alone, reacted to the suicides by giving its staff a pay rise of 67 percent, to 2,000 yuan (around 290 US dollars) a month, effective from October 1.
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