Foxconn Doubles Workers' Wages

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- In its latest response to a series of employee suicides and weeks of global media scrutiny over workplace conditions, Apple Inc. contractor Foxconn Technology Group announced that wages for workers at its Shenzhen, China, complex will increase again on Oct. 1, more than doubling the figure in the space of a few months.

In a statement Sunday, Foxconn said monthly wages for first-line employees, line leaders and supervisors will rise to 2,000 yuan ($293), pending a performance evaluation for current workers and a three-month probationary period for new employees.

It is the second pay raise to be announced after Foxconn raised salaries from 900 yuan to 1,200 yuan on June 2.

The company will release information on "further upward adjustments" for Shenzhen line leader and supervisor wages by Aug. 1, as well as for employees at other factories in China on July 1.

"This wage increase has been instituted to safeguard the dignity of workers, accelerate economic transformation, support Foxconn's long-term objective of continued evolution from a manufacturing leader to a technology leader, and to rally and sustain the best of our workforce," Foxconn chairman Terry Gou said in the statement.

"We are working diligently to ensure that our workplace standards and remuneration not only continue to meet the rapidly changing needs of our employees, but that they are best-in-class," he said.

Shares of Tucheng, Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world's biggest contract electronics manufacturer and Foxconn's parent company, fell on the Taiwan stock exchange by 5.6 percent at Monday's close.

Foxconn shares were suspended from trading in Hong Kong minutes after trading opened Monday, after falling 5.5 percent in response to the wage hikes.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported that Foxconn requested the suspension because of the imminent release of "price sensitive information."

The 10 suicides at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory and a strike at a Honda factory in Foshan, Guangdong Province, have attracted international criticism from labor rights groups who regularly accuse Chinese factories of mistreating workers.

Gou, founder and chairman of Hon Hai and Foxconn and an influential Taiwan entrepreneur, has received strong expressions of support and sympathy from leading Nationalist Party politicians, including Premier Wu Den-yih and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

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