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Anti-suicide pledges are not the way forward

Foxconn seems to have a problem with its workforce. The whole working environment – including pay and the treatment of its workforce are too much for its workers: they are taking their own lives.

This is a global problem. Foxconn makes parts for Apple and Sony. There are other Chinese companies with similar problems. And the issue is by no means confined to China – France Telecom has suffered similar problems, with over 25 suicides over 18 months.

The solution cannot be to ask workers to sign pledges not to commit suicide. That will only increase the pressure on them. And it is demeaning. The solution must involve a wholesale review of working conditions, led by unions and accompanied by much greater transparency from the companies involved.