Mass suicide threatened at Chinese Xbox factory in protest over pay

Disgruntled workers in a Chinese factory threatened mass suicide in a protest against their employer according to reports today. Why is this ‘game news’? They make Xbox 360s. The factory as a whole makes products for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, but it was this group of Xbox workers in particular who asked for a payrise on January 2…

It is reported that they were told there would be no such rise forthcoming, before being given an ultimatum: Continue to work for the same pay, or leave and receive compensation. Fair enough – some stayed, some left. But the people who left allegedly saw nothing of the compensation, as the factory terminated their agreement along with their contracts. So the workforce took to the roof of the factory en masse – and threatened to jump.

Above: This picture from Want China Times (opens in new tab) may or may not be of the protest. But probably is

Fortunately, all 200 staff were talked down by the mayor of Wuhan on January 3. But, of course, all eyes have turned to Microsoft to see what on Earth has been going on. A spokesperson duly replied (opens in new tab):

“Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue. We have a stringent Vendor Code of Conduct that spells out our expectations, and we monitor working conditions closely on an ongoing basis and address issues as they emerge. Microsoft is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors, and to ensuring conformance with Microsoft policy.”

It does beg the question, then, why the firm should choose to build its hardware with Foxconn factory – a company famous for not only the high rate of suicide among its workers, but for also having installed what looks like ‘suicide nets’ to catch anyone who does try to jump – look at this (opens in new tab).

Surely a few extra pence per console from the RRP would make all of this better? Or are we just being naïve?

Sources: Want China Times (opens in new tab), Kotaku (opens in new tab), MCV (opens in new tab), Daily Tech (opens in new tab)

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