Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that assembles popular Western products including the Apple iPad, said that a worker at a plant in the Chinese city of Chengdu jumped to his death, Reuters reported Thursday.
The reported suicide is the company's 18th over the past few years, but the first since Apple and Foxconn publicly declared in March to improve working conditions at Foxconn's Chinese plants, which have been sharply indicted by the media and advoacy groups. It also comes on the heels of a reported riot at the same plant involving over 1,000 workers.
In response to the suicide, advocacy group SumOfUs released the following statement:
"First Apple investigated the issue and promised to treat workers fairly. Then a report came out saying things weren't improving, and might actually be getting worse. Now a worker has committed suicide. If this tragic suicide doesn't wake Apple up to the fact that working conditions are still atrocious in its Chinese factories, then what will?" said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Executive Director of SumOfUs.org. "Our members will continue to hold Apple's feet to the fire until workers are treated ethically –meaning workers are paid a living wage and are allowed to form worker-led unions."