Friday, April 27, 2012, 02:23 pm PT (05:23 pm ET)
Foxconn workers protest wages, threaten to jump off factory roof [u]About 200 workers threatened to take their own lives on Friday at a building owned by Apple's Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn over purported wage disputes and workplace conditions.
Update: To clarify, Foxconn's Wuhan factory is responsible for building Microsoft's Xbox 360 and isn't associated with Apple hardware.
The protest comes less than a month after both Apple and Foxconn signed agreements to reform the wages, workplace conditions and working hours at the giant Chinese electronics manufacturer, reports Reuters.
According to Hong Kong-based human rights organization Information Centre for Human Rights, roughly 200 people warned they would jump off the roof of a Wuhan factory owned by Foxconn, a threat that a number of workers followed through with in 2010.
Simon Tsing, spokesman for Hon Hai Precision, which publicly trades as Foxconn, said the incident involved workers new to the plant who disagreed with certain workplace adjustments. He was quick to point out that it was not a strike and no one was injured during the negotiations.
"The dispute has already been settled after some negotiations involving the human resources and legal departments as well as the local government," Tsing said.
He reiterated that no one had jumped off the factory building, but fell short of disclosing the nature of the protest or the exact number of employees involved. The Information Centre for Human Rights claims the main complaint was that workers earned less in Wuhan than at previous jobs.
In response to widespread media coverage of a spate of suicides at Foxconn plants in 2010, Apple joined the independent Fair Labor Association to conduct an audit of the Chinese manufacturing facilities.
The FLA's findings were published in March, and although much of Foxconn's operation seemed to be in order, the organization called for certain adjustments regarding overtime pay, working conditions and basic salary concerns.
Foxconn currently employs some 1.2 million workers in China, many of whom are part of assembly lines for Apple products including the iPad, iPhone and Mac. The Chinese company also has contracts with other large tech entities like Microsoft, Amazon and Sony.
Recent reports out of Brazil claim that over 2,500 employees at Foxconn's new Jundiaí plant, where versions of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are made, have complained of overcrowded buses, poor food and a lack of water. The workers have vowed to strike if an agreement is not reached by May 3.
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