Sony, Nokia express concern over Foxconn suicides

Electronics makers join Apple, HP, and Dell in saying they're pursuing their own investigations into the working conditions at the contract manufacturer's factory.

Under its Foxconn brand, Hon Hai Precision Industries makes gadgets to order for the biggest name in electronics. And in light of the increasing number of employee suicide attempts and media attention, some of those clients are beginning to speak publicly about the problem.

On Friday, one of the most recognizable names in electronics, Sony, and the largest mobile-phone company in the world, Nokia, say they're looking into what's happening at the Foxconn factories in China, according to Agence France Presse.

"In response to recent reports, Sony has begun taking steps to re-evaluate the working environment at Foxconn," the company said in a statement.

Nokia also commented on the Foxconn situation Friday, saying, "We are concerned and take this very seriously. Given the concerning reports regarding Foxconn, we are in continuous contact with Foxconn to ensure any issues are identified and addressed as soon as possible."

The two companies' statements echoed what Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday. All of them say they take working conditions "seriously" throughout their supply chain and will do their own investigations into the matter.

Meanwhile, suicide attempts at Foxconn's 450,000-employee factories have continued. On Friday there were reports of yet another attempt, possibly the 16th since the beginning of the year. And on Wednesday, right after Hon Hai's chairman gave a carefully guided media tour of his plant intended to show happy, safe workers, a worker reportedly jumped to his death .

Hon Hai has been repeatedly accused of forcing employees to work long hours for low pay under stressful conditions. The company has been sometimes violent and, until this week, mostly dismissive of media requests to investigate.

The company said recently it will install "suicide nets" to discourage employees from jumping, and offer a 20 percent wage increase to some workers.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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