June 8th: Global Day of Remembrance for Victims of Foxconn
Imploring workers to cherish their lives
Demanding Foxconn to stop production and reform
Twelve workers have committed suicide as of May 27th at the production facilities of Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwan-owned enterprise based in Shenzhen. Citizens of the world and members of non-governmental organizations implore workers of Foxconn to cherish their valuable lives, despite the urgent need to protest against their dire working conditions. Suicide should not be a means to protest the harsh management in the factories. We condemn Foxconn for not having even arranged any public vigils for the deceased workers and bereaved families and colleagues so far. To rub salt into the wound, the CEO of Foxconn Terry Gou asserted cynically that the victims committed suicide because of the company’s willingness to compensate their families generously. This heartless effort to blame the victims is a despicable attempt to deny responsibility. It is an insult to the dead and an absolutely deplorable affront to the public. Noting that Foxconn is a producer of iPhones, and that Apple is launching its 4th generation iPhones on June 8th (Hong Kong time), we have decided to make that date the Global Day of Remembrance for Victims of Foxconn. We call on citizens in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and all over the world to join us in this commemoration of the workers.
Stop production and carry out reform
In this critical time, we strongly urge Foxconn to stop production for a month to probe into the reasons for the high suicide rate in its facilities and to reform its management methods. Workers also need this break to recover physically and psychologically. Regular wages and benefits should remain in effective during this period. In addition, the trade union at Foxconn should be reorganized through democratic elections of leaders, in accordance with the Trade Union Law of China, so that it can defend the rights of workers through collective bargaining. Scandalously, the current president of the trade union, according to media reports, is the secretary of CEO Terry Gou.
Boycott Foxconn’s products, including iPhones, for a month
To increase the pressure, we urge all consumers to boycott Foxconn’s products, such as Apple’s iPhones, for a month, between 1st and 30th June. Foxconn is a supplier to various leading brands including Apple, Nokia, HP, Dell, Sony, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola. International brands constantly drive down prices and demand shorter delivery time when placing orders. To secure contracts, Foxconn minimizes its cost to remain competitive, and transfers the pressure of the increasingly low profit margin to the frontline workers. Workers inevitably suffer as a result. Ironically and tellingly, according to its Annual Reports, between 2008 and 2009, Foxconn International, a subsidiary of the Foxconn Technology Group, increased its workforce by 10,000 (9.7%) to 118,000 strong while its production cost actually declined within the same period to USD 485 million, a drop of USD 187 million or 28%. Analyzing this vicious cycle of exploitation, we must realize that while Foxconn holds primary responsibility in exploiting the workers, global brands like Apple are just as much to blame for this “race to the bottom” game. As such, we strongly demand all brands to examine their inhuman purchasing model.
The tragedies at Foxconn expose the fact that the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), comprised of more than 40 electronic brands, have failed to protect the rights of workers. Its corporate social responsibility mechanism requires immediate and thorough reform. To this end, the EICC should increase its transparency and enable workers to participate in the system. This is the most effective way to stop the recurrence of suicidal cases in the sector.
Students & Scholars Against Cooperate Misbehavior (SACOM)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC)
Community Culture Concern
Community Development Alliance
Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association
ITUC/GUF Hong Kong Liaison Office (IHLO)
Labour Action China
People Planning in Action
Wan Chai Street Market Concern Group
Taiwan People’s Alliance
Taiwan Social Forum
(as of 27 May 2010)
SACOM will update the signatories of co-signed organizations; please show your support by adding your names to the petition now: http://www.gopetition.com/online/36639.html.